Every August, some 2,000-plus new students arrive in the Holy City to begin their studies at the College of Charleston. This year, the campus is welcoming over 2,200 first-year students and some 500-plus transfer students. They come from as far away as Australia and as nearby as just down the street. Let’s take a moment to meet a few of them:
Kyle Barretto is a young entrepreneur from Fort Mill, South Carolina. Originally from the Philippines, Barretto moved to the U.S. with his family at the age of 12. His background is somewhat unusual in that he didn’t have access to digital technology until he was an adolescent, but since then he’s gone all in.
“I love technology,” he says. As a student in the Honors College, Barretto plans to major in computer science or systems engineering while balancing his studies with an array of small businesses that he operates.
“When I was younger,” he says, “a cousin visited and brought his laptop. He introduced me to Microsoft Paint. For me, it was a gateway to a whole other world – a world of numerous different possibilities – and ever since, I’ve been hooked. In the future, I plan to work for a big tech company such as Google or Amazon, either in programming or software engineering. In the meantime, I’ll continue growing my businesses. I just sold my small vending machine operation, but I also take on custom computer commissions, building computers and offering tech support. I also have a small enterprise reselling thrifted clothing. Overall, I hope to make an impact during my time in Charleston, while growing my skills and knowledge at the same time.”
Next up is Devin Hammonds, a first-year student from Spartanburg, South Carolina. He’s already familiar with campus – and has made several friends – because he participated in this year’s edition of the SPECTRA Program, which supports first-generation students and students of color.
“I can’t say enough about that program,” Hammonds says. “I was able to take a couple of classes and I basically know where everything is on campus. SPECTRA definitely encouraged me to be more confident when I begin in the fall.”
Hammonds, who will also be studying in the Honors College, is a Legacy Scholar with the 1967 Legacy Program. He lists his academic interests as entrepreneurship, business, and hospitality and tourism. In fact, he plans to major in business administration with a concentration in the latter.
“I’m really driven regarding academics,” he says. “I want to jump right into that, but I also want to see what else the College offers. I hope to have time for some extracurricular activities. I swam competitively for years and I enjoy other aquatic activities as well. I also play the piano and staying active in that is something I hope to do. Though I’ll primarily be focused on my studies, I plan to build my businesses along the way. Right now, I’m setting up a business that will sell plants through Etsy. Doing this will give me an opportunity to apply what I’m learning in the classroom right away.”
To meet other members of the incoming class of 2026, check out the full article by Dan Dickison in the College Today.