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Student with Math Background Finds New Path through Information Technology and Free College

Student Hamilton Scott is putting his master’s degree in math to the test in a new way through Blue Ridge Community College’s Information Technology (IT) program.

Scott is currently enrolled in the Network Management Pathway at Blue Ridge, and has taken various courses in configuring routers and switches. He’s recently been working as a tutor at Asheville Math.

Due to the seasonal nature of tutoring, Scott realized he needed a more reliable source of income, and his first thought was an IT job. It just so happened that Blue Ridge’s Brighter Future Scholarship offering Free College was available at the time, so Scott applied and was able to attend classes at Blue Ridge tuition-free in 2021.

“The Brighter Future scholarship really helped me. I wouldn’t have been able to afford all of my classes without it,” he added.

While attending classes at Blue Ridge, Scott is also looking at earning industry certifications. He plans to take a few classes at a time to avoid overloading himself while working toward his degree.

He explained the importance of having a strong IT department at any business, especially with the increase in cyberattacks.

“I’m learning a lot through my classes at Blue Ridge. Everyone has been so helpful,” he said.

A Unique Path to Information Technology
Before his time at Blue Ridge, the 42-year-old attended Durham Technical Community College, where he earned an associate degree in opticianry, or the professional practice of making eyeglasses, filling prescriptions, and more. Upon graduation however, he realized opticianry wasn’t his passion, so he returned to Durham Tech with a newfound focus on information technology.

Midway through his courses, Scott received a job opportunity in Johnson City, Tennessee, making awnings, which led him to leave school before completion. He eventually attended East Tennessee State University, where he earned a master’s degree in math.

“I looked back at my opticianry degree, and I remembered how I loved the math portion of it. So, this led me to major in math,” Scott laughed.

His initial goal was to teach math and conduct research in the summers. This led him to a job in South Georgia at Southern Regional Technical College where he remained for five years until he landed a job as a research analyst at the North Georgia Technical College for 2.5 years.

He then got a brief job at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) in Savannah, Georgia, before moving to be near family in the Hendersonville, North Carolina, area in 2019.

“I love tutoring. We work with everyone from second grade to college, so I get to meet a variety of people and teach a variety of math,” Scott said.

Looking Forward
After he earns his degree from Blue Ridge, Scott hopes to specialize in either network management or Linux administration.

In the meantime, his current job at Asheville Math affords him the opportunity to spread his love of IT to others. He recently hosted a summer camp at his job, which taught middle and high school students basic computer programming and even some Linux commands through the Raspberry Pi 400 computer.

“I love teaching and instilling a passion for programming in others, and Blue Ridge is helping me every step of the way,” he said.

To learn more about Blue Ridge’s IT offerings, visit