Skip to Main ContentSearch Site

Promise student earns 2023 Coca-Cola Academic Scholarship

Promise student earns 2023 Coca-Cola Academic ScholarshipWest Warwick native and Promise student earns 2023 Coca-Cola Academic Scholarship

Community College of Rhode Island sophomore and West Warwick, RI, native Dakota Hunter has been named a 2023 Coca-Cola Academic Team Silver Scholar and will receive a $1,250 scholarship.

A Rhode Island Promise scholar and member of CCRI’s Phi Theta Kappa – the international honor society for two-year colleges – Pi Omicron chapter, Hunter graduates in May with his Associate Degree in General Studies with a concentration in Cellular & Molecular Biology.

He will transfer to the University of Rhode Island in the fall through CCRI’s Joint Admissions Agreement (JAA) program to study Neuroscience and Biochemistry and eventually plans to apply to medical school in hopes of working in Pediatrics, inspired by his recent volunteer work for the past year and a half with Inspiring Minds, a non-profit organization that works with Providence Public Schools to help students gain the education skills and self-esteem they need to become successful learners and productive members of the community.

“Winning the scholarship is an awesome feeling,” said Hunter, 19, the oldest of three in his family. “I was a bit nervous because I had applied in December and didn’t hear anything for a while, so I didn’t think I won, but when I got the news, it definitely helped my week get a lot better.”

Students are nominated for the Coca-Cola Academic Team by their college administrators. Selection is based on academic achievement, leadership, and engagement in college and community service.

Coca-Cola Academic Team members will be recognized in both local and statewide ceremonies and will also be recognized internationally during Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention, PTK Catalyst, scheduled from April 20-22 in Columbus, Ohio.

As the self-described “art kid” growing up, Hunter attended Ponaganset High School through its Career and Technical Education (CTE) program ­– which prepares students for college and careers in high-demand and high-wage labor markets – and enrolled at CCRI in Fall 2021 to pursue a career in Graphic Design. He interned at Hasbro for a short while until the start of the pandemic, which “threw everything off the rails.” Computer Science was his next pursuit. A year later, he joined PTK and “started to fall in love” with Biology and Chemistry. After considering a career in Neuroscience, Hunter zeroed in on Pediatrics through his work with kindergarten students at Inspiring Minds.

“The program connects people from the community to children in the classroom and the students get a lot of one-on-one time,” Hunter said. “We work with a lot of kids who’ve never had any schooling before and it’s truly rewarded. I can see myself doing this for a long time.”

Share on Social Media