Nolan Ierardi

Faculty Engagement Attracts Freshman to DAIM Accelerated Master’s Program


By: Emily Lewis

Nolan Ierardi started programming with Scratch at the age of nine. His expertise quickly blossomed and his programs evolved into complex games and applications. As he grew older, Ierardi decided to pursue a career in information technology. Which university would he rely on to assist him in developing the correct skills?

Knowing that interaction with faculty would propel him forward faster in his pursuit of a career in IT, Ierardi, 18, chose Radford University’s Data and Information Management (DAIM) accelerated track.

While attending Blacksburg High School, Ierardi took introductory classes in IT and Java. During his own time, he taught himself HTML, CSS, and Javascript and used these three web programming languages to develop his personal website.

During an information session, Ierardi found his interest in the DAIM program.

“At this point, I was still considering other schools. By the time I left Radford that day, I was certain that this university would be my future home,” Ierardi said. “I knew the DAIM program would help me acquire a career more quickly in the future.”

There were plenty of reasons Ierardi chose Radford but the deciding factor for him was that the university is one of six four-year universities in Virginia designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education (CAE-CDE).

“Radford’s emerging cyber security program is one of the best in the state, and the faculty-to-student ratio ensures that I will get help when needed,” stated Ierardi. The university is designated a CAE-CDE by the National Security Agency and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Ierardi also chose Radford for the classroom structure, “Radford’s teaching model emphasizes real-world scenarios and practical application of the material taught, which ensures students will be prime candidates for careers in the future.”

Although Ierardi did not know quite what to expect when arriving to campus, he quickly found his niche and became accustomed to the challenging courses after a few weeks.

During his transition, Ierardi appreciated guidance from DAIM’s graduate coordinator, Dr. Jeff Pittges, “I’d like to thank Dr. Pittges for personally advising me. He helps students clearly understand specific topics and prepares them for the professional workforce related to computer science.”

After graduation, Ierardi desires to work with a large technology company but stated that starting small may be beneficial, “I will most likely start off working for a small, localized company, which will allow me to hone my skills further and gain experience in the workforce that will build my resume and allow me to obtain a job at larger companies.”