Nana Takyi Kum ’09
“As early as I can remember, I have always been interested in technology,” explains Nana Takyi Kum ’09. “When I was seven, my family had the opportunity to bring a computer home for use. I ended up taking it apart and putting it back together, out of curiosity. This is when my genuine passion for technology began.”
Today, Kum serves as an information technology (IT) infrastructure and cloud manager for the global professional services firm PwC, with a core competency in cloud computing and networking. “I advise organizations on how best to implement and utilize various technology solutions to meet business objectives,” he says. “This is achieved by applying best practices to resolve technology challenges, and deliver IT services that organizations depend on.”
What began as a childhood curiosity blossomed into a full-fledged passion by the time Kum entered Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, Virginia. “During my high school career I was enrolled in an IT program that offered a range of specialized technology curriculum to help introduce and prepare committed students for the emerging world of IT,” he says. “It was one of the first of its kind.”
His experience with his high school IT program helped Kum determine exactly what he needed from a prospective university. “I was interested in attending a university that would continue to cultivate my growing thirst for knowledge, in a practical manner,” he explains.
“Upon the completion of my initial visit to Radford University’s Artis College of Science and Technology, I quickly realized that the computer science and technology program at Radford University would properly expose me to an extensive range of technology theories and practices that would better prepare me for a career in IT.”
Although Kum was devoted to his education in computer science during his time at Radford University, it was not his singular focus. “You name it – I was exposed to it. I wanted to do it all,” Kum explains. “Radford University has outstanding out-of-the-classroom experiences that helped to quench my ongoing desire for campus involvement during my undergraduate career.”
“With the number of registered student organizations on campus, I was able to get involved in multiple organizations that have helped to play key roles in my professional progression,” he continues. “The Student Activities office provided me with the platform that I needed to establish campus organizations and program initiatives that are near and dear to my heart.”
One of those program initiatives was “Taste for Diversity,” a campus-wide cultural awareness program that Kum developed to help foster an inviting experience for the Radford University public, by promoting the uniqueness of cultures of the world in a multi-faceted event that engages and educates participants.
Kum also managed to find time to help pay for his education through his entrepreneurial drive. “From operating a personal help-desk, to building websites and mobile applications for neighboring organizations and businesses, I was able to help pay for my schooling,” he says.
Perhaps the most impressive aspect of Kum’s accomplishments is that he was able to achieve all that he has while fighting a deadly, and often times painful, disease. “Suffering from sickle cell anemia, I needed to attend a university that could support me through my illness. I was in and out of the hospital throughout my college career,” he says. “I received support from the Center for Accessibility Services to ensure I could still attend and receive the necessary assistance required.”
“Because of this I realized I was in good hands – that the faculty and staff truly cared about me and my well-being,” Kum continues. “I became as integrated as any other student would be.”
Kum has managed to keep up the torrid pace that he set as a student at Radford University, which he takes much pride in. “There is enough time in a given day to make a positive impact,” he explains. “It’s not a lack of time that we often suffer from, but a lack of desire. As long as you maintain your drive, coupled with a great sense of humility, you can achieve your ultimate goal of success.”
Despite the everyday responsibilities of his career keeping him busy, Kum is currently in the process of launching a non-profit organization “intended to help bridge the gap between cultural differences.”
Along with his tireless work ethic, much of Kum’s success can be attributed to his diverse skill set, something he says every Radford University student – especially those studying IT – can benefit from.
“I encourage students enrolled in the Department of Information Technology programs to take advantage of the different IT certification initiatives that the department offers,” Kum explains. “This will enable students to be more competitive in the job market as IT is forever growing, and it requires you to always be informed. Do not focus only on your degree – get certifications as well. That way you can become a double or a triple threat by the time you graduate with your degree and certifications.”
“I am a product of Radford University’s IT program,” Kum says with pride. “It is rigorous and it is competitive.”