Working Toward His Dreams
Computer engineering/French student is a leader at KSU
KENNESAW, Ga. (Apr 14, 2020) — Kwame Akuffo lives his life according to two basic principles – first, “if you are going to do something, do it well,” and second, “make an impact on the world in your own way, no matter how small.”
Akuffo, who spent most of his childhood in West Africa, said that these principles combined with what his family taught him about hard work and dedication, have been the motivation he has used to succeed at Kennesaw State.
At the age of 13, Akuffo moved to metro Atlanta with his mom because of financial hardships his parents were facing, as the private education Akuffo was receiving in Ghana had become too expensive. Following his high school graduation, Akuffo chose to attend Kennesaw State and major in computer engineering.
Growing up in Ghana, where at the time access to certain technologies was limited, Akuffo always was fascinated by technology ranging from handheld gadgets to enormous manufacturing machines that he saw on television and read of in magazines. “Since then, I always knew that I wanted to have a career in technology,” he said.
Akuffo also grew up learning French, since Ghana is bordered by three French-speaking nations. He planned to minor in the language, but one of his KSU professors, Lucie Viakinnou-Brinson, encouraged him to add it as a second major because of the additional career possibilities it could provide.
But beyond his academic pursuits, Akuffo says that his involvement in extracurricular activities is how he has had the opportunity to live his principles. As a resident assistant at Hornet Village and president of the French Club and Sowers of Knowledge organization, he has gained invaluable experience as a leader.
“People see leadership as a daunting task, but I see it as a wonderful opportunity for growth,” Akuffo said. “I’m so involved at KSU because I believe in learning from all experiences, good and bad.”
In addition to his leadership roles, Akuffo is also involved in several other student organizations including the Computer Engineering Apprentice Club, the National Society of Black Engineers and the African Student Association. He also serves as a student assistant in KSU’s Office of Development.
Despite his busy schedule, Akuffo is on track to graduate in December 2021 and is looking to integrate both of his majors into his career path. He said that the options could include some type of pursuit in artificial intelligence or in the field of human language technology, which studies methods of how computer programs or electronic devices can analyze, produce, modify or respond to human texts and speech.
One definite for Akuffo is to return to Ghana at some point, even if it’s not until the latter part of his career or in retirement. He wants to give back to his native country through economic and social initiatives.
“Ghana is my happy place,” Akuffo said. “It would be a blessing to go back home and invest not only in Ghana, but in surrounding countries.”
– Paul Floeckher
Photos by Jason Getz, video by David Johnson
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.