Former PRCC student returns as coding technology instructor

Otwane, 24, is a former Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship recipient, who...
Otwane, 24, is a former Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship recipient, who graduated from PRCC in 2018.(Pearl River Community College)
Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 12:08 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 17, 2022 at 12:09 PM CDT
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HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Said D. Otwane has returned this fall to his alma mater to teach coding technology at the Pearl River Community College Forrest County Campus.

“I wanted to help build up and improve the institution that opened so many doors for me,” said Otwane. “I also wanted to help equip those who come after me with the tools and experiences I never got as I left PRCC. If I could make things easier for just one person, then I would have accomplished ten times more than I would have in a different role.”

Otwane, 24, is a former Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Transfer Scholarship recipient, who graduated from PRCC in 2018 with special honors. He is one of eight JKC recipients in eight years at PRCC and the first to return to work at the school.

“Said isn’t just smart, he is good with people, and he has a strong work ethic,” said Dr. Terri Ruckel, former dean of the William A. Lewis Honors Institute at PRCC & Phi Theta Kappa advisor.

“He served this campus faithfully in the multiple student organizations that he joined; he not only attended events, but he arranged them, cheered on the speakers - if he was not the one speaking, and didn’t leave until everything was back in place.”

A native of Mombasa, Kenya, Otwane graduated from Petal High School in 2016 before choosing to attend PRCC. His mom and his aunt are also PRCC graduates.

“I knew from the start that I was heading to a fantastic place,” said Otwane. “I chose PRCC because they offered me lots of scholarships.”PRCC has wonderful staff and faculty. The teachers are overqualified and passionate about their work.”

Such teachers include Drs. Terri and Ryan Ruckel and Dr. Doug Donohue.

“They all opened a metric ton of doors that I didn’t even know existed,” said Otwane. “They were the primary catalyst in my application to PTK, JKC and Columbia.”

After PRCC, Otwane went on to Columbia University in New York. He graduated in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science.

“I felt prepared for almost every course I tackled,” said Otwane. “When I felt overwhelmed or intimidated by a course it was due to my anxiety than a lack of preparation. Every time I would take an academic course that was writing intensive, the feedback I received for my drafts would almost always be the same feedback my teachers at PRCC gave.”

Otwane’s special emphasis in coding technology will be web development.

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