Class of 2025: First-generation college student pursues passion in STEM, art

I ncoming freshman Jared Reese is no stranger to the college setting. In May 2021, the Hampton, Georgia, native completed his Associate of Science at Clayton State University where he began dual enrollment in the 10th grade.

“Through careful planning, I was able to complete all my high school credits, alongside the credits needed to complete my Associate of Science, after the first semester of 11th grade,” he explained.

For Reese, attending Georgia College has extraordinary meaning.

“I’m going to be the first person in my family to graduate from college,” he said. “It means so much to me for a multitude of reasons. Due to how I look and who I am, I always knew that I was going to face numerous struggles and obstacles throughout my journey.”

Reese recognizes that his past accomplishments and overcoming obstacles will lead to future success. He also credits his mother as an inspiration.

“My mother wasn’t able to attend college due to having to care for my grandmother, so I’m absolutely doing this for her, too,” said Reese.

“She’s the one who has helped and inspired me the most, by far,” he said. “She is the greatest person I know and will ever know. I wouldn’t have gotten here without her.”

As Reese begins his journey at Georgia College, he will be majoring in computer science with a math minor. His love of computer science began with the first computer game he played, and ever since then, he has been “obsessed” with computers and everything they can do. According to him, “the possibilities are endless.”

In addition to his love of computer science, Reese is also an artist.

“Being an artist only increased my passion, allowing me to combine both technology and art through digital art,” he said.

Reese is a recent graduate of the Elite Scholars Academy
Reese is a recent graduate of the Elite Scholars Academy

Every summer since 9th grade, Reese has attended Fort Valley State University’s (FVSU) Mathematics, Science, and Engineering Academy (M-SEA) program. The program targets minority and female students who have just entered 9th grade, bringing together cohorts that remain together through the 12th grade. In Reese’s 11th grade year, the cohort had the opportunity to visit the Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

“Cementing my major of choice was my visit to Walmart’s headquarters. Seeing how lively the building was as well as all the technology and coding that goes into running Walmart just clicked with me immediately.”

Reese recently qualified for a scholarship through the Hispanic Scholarship Fund program, which provides students and parents with the resources to navigate higher education.

“Alongside having access to career services, scholar conferences and mentorships, I have access to scholarships which range from $500 to $5,000,” explained Reese.

This fall, Reese will be joining the Leadership Academy at Georgia College. He’s also looking forward to joining the Black Student Alliance and the Latino Student Alliance, where he’s excited to meet and connect with people through participation in activities and cultural events. According to Reese, that’s not all, though: He’s looking forward to being extremely involved through multiple clubs during his time at Georgia College.

The close-knit community and ability to be involved with his peers and mentors are part of the reason Reese chose Georgia College.

“The small size and liberal arts education are the factors that truly drew me in,” Reese said. “I never wanted to go to a huge college, since I wanted to have an easier way to form connections with my professors,” explained Reese. “In came Georgia College, which fulfills those requirements perfectly. To add to that, the liberal arts education is such a good fit for me; I want to learn a little bit of everything.”