Name: Ryan Serghini
University: Eastern Washington University
Community College: Spokane Falls Community College
Major: computer science
Class: Junior
High School: Contract Based Education

My path to computer science (CS) started at a young age. I always loved fixing broken or slow computers. I was never professionally taught how to fix computers; but I taught myself with online videos and by reading textbooks. After graduating high school in 2012, I waited three years to enroll at Spokane Falls Community College (SFCC). During this time, I had my son and decided I needed to better myself not only for me, but for him as well. I decided that I wanted to get a degree in CS because of my interest in computers.
I decided to attend SFCC at the recommendation of a friend who already attended SFCC. I met with an advisor who helped me enroll winter quarter 2015. I began taking courses towards earning a transfer associate’s degree in computer science.

I applied for the Washington State Opportunity Scholarship (WSOS) after I found a flyer on campus. When I found out I received the scholarship, I knew the financial support would mean I wouldn’t have to worry about paying for school and I could take out fewer student loans. I knew I could focus more on my classes and excel academically without as many financial concerns.

I recently transferred from SCFF and was admitted into CS at Eastern Washington University (EWU). The process of transferring was easier than I expected. I didn’t know how to start my application so I visited the admissions office to find out. I connected with a counselor who let me know everything was done online and I applied that same day. EWU supported me during my transfer. I have great advisors in the CS department and I even got a tour of the CS building before I started my classes. I had no issues transferring my WSOS scholarship, either.

My advice for other Opportunity Scholars is to encourage you to take the same route I did. I took advantage of meeting my program officer during her office hours, connected with other Scholars and took advantage of other opportunities offered to me. I networked and met fellow peers and industry professionals. Networking was a great way to get my foot in the door at companies I was interested in. I built friendships and mentorships with people who I thought I might work with one day. WSOS program officers can help you prepare for interviews, too. I credit my participation in WSOS with helping me get an internship in the IT Computer Lab at SFCC.

I’m excited for the next two years as I develop my skills in CS. I credit my community college experience and WSOS for the opportunity to graduate with a CS degree.