RIC is right fit for STEM-smart kids

Harry Johnson of Warwick started RIC at 13 to prepare for a career in electrical engineering.


Harry Johnson
Homeschooled since age 10, within three years he had advanced beyond the science and math he could teach himself at home and needed experience in a lab.

He remembers coming to the Rhode Island College campus for the first time with his mom in May 2008 to meet Kathryn Sanders, chair, at that time, and professor of mathematics and computer science:

“Dr. Sanders was extremely outgoing and welcoming,” he said. “She placed me in a precalculus class, and I had her for a computer programming course.”

Eventually Harry transitioned from being a fully homeschooled teen, to a part-time RIC student, to a full-time RIC student in the College Honors Program, majoring in physics.

“I chose physics over math because physics was closest to electrical engineering,” he said.

“RIC is a great resource for kids who lose interest in middle or high school because they’re not being challenged,” said Mary Johnson, Harry’s mom.

Harry described his professors as “great all around.”

“Dr. Teixeira taught me statistics. He had a very effective style of teaching that involved doing a lot of group work. And Dr. Abrahamson’s Calculus II class was bone-crushingly difficult, yet a lot of fun. He taught me the theories behind theories and techniques and tricks based on theories. He also had an endless supply of interesting stories to tell. I always went to Dr. Abrahamson for advice if a question came up in another class or if I had a question of my own. He was incredibly supportive, as were all of my professors. And though I was a 13 year old sitting in class with 18 year olds, my classmates welcomed me, too, and didn’t treat me as strange.”

“It was a pleasure having Harry in class,” said Abrahamson. “It’s not just the fact that he’s brilliant, it’s that he loves everything he does. His enthusiasm is infectious.”

“Harry has grown personally and academically during his time at RIC,” his mom said. “He’s taken classes that are challenging and engaging, and he’s worked as hard as everyone else, which allowed him to develop his talents.”

In fact he took his studies at RIC as far as he could go, completing 93 credits. Many of the credits were counted toward his homeschool/high school diploma and other credits will count as transfer credits at Stanford University where he plans to earn a B.S. in electrical engineering.

“RIC prepared me well,” Harry said, who will turn 18 in August. His mom concurred. “We are enormously thankful for the solid grounding Harry received at RIC.”

Currently, Harry works for Kippkitts, LLC, in Pawtucket, where he designs industrial and commercial products and electronic hobbyists applications.