Samuel Karkassoni Barros’ life may sound similar to that of other college students. He works full time and goes to school full time. That’s where the likeness ends.
Karkassoni Barros has been living on his own with his twin brother since they were 17 years old. Yet, despite the challenges he has faced, he persevered and nabbed this year’s Francisco Foundation Scholarship Award at Miami Dade College (MDC).
In addition to his 3.3 GPA, this business administration major is the current vice president of Phi Theta Kappa at the InterAmerican Campus (IAC) and an active member of the Phi Beta Lambda and the National Society of Leadership and Success.In his limited spare time, he also volunteers and hopes to graduate with a degree in computer science.
“My plans for the future are to open my own healthcare information technology company specializing in bio-technology,” he said.
Karkassoni Barros, 19, and his twin brother were raised by a single mother. When their maternal grandmother became ill in Peru, his mother had to return to care for her, leaving the boys behind to create a better future for themselves. In the meantime, this Miami native continues to juggle his time between work, school, and volunteering. His efforts have paid off.
The Francisco Foundation selects a winner each year on the basis of demonstrated leadership, community service, academic excellence, and a love of democracy and freedom. The $2,500 scholarship was created in honor of Rogelio “Francisco” Gonzalez Corzo who was executed by Fidel Castro’s regime in 1961 when he was 28 years old for his attempts to subvert the dictatorship. He was the head of the underground anti Castro resistance effort called “Movement to Recover the Revolution.”
“Francisco left an important legacy behind. I hope the students who receive this scholarship will follow in his footsteps and defend human rights, and also to learn about this young man’s struggles for Cuba to be a better place to live in,” said Miami- Dade County District 10 Commissioner Javier Souto, who serves on the Francisco Foundation Board.