Kamal Yerra, a 15-year-old from Fort Mill, South Carolina, has completed a master’s degree program at University of the Cumberlands. It is his second college degree, and the prodigy is nearing completion of a third.
Kamal finished high school at age 13, and afterward, he earned a Bachelor of Science in Business in just six months at Excelsior College in New York. He went on to complete a Master of Science in Information Systems Security from Cumberlands. Now, at the ripe old age of 15, he is working on his MBA. Kamal’s family says he is the third-youngest person in America to earn a master’s degree.
“I chose Cumberlands because it offers affordable degree options that are entirely online. They always listen to their students’ feedback and fine-tune their teaching methods and processes accordingly,” said Kamal. “Additionally, Cumberlands is a Christian minority institution and ensures the highest integrity while delivering courses.”
Though Kamal has accomplished feats many never attempt, one news outlet described him as “quietly unassuming and a little shy.” Evidently, that shyness has not held him back from pushing himself beyond his limits.
His family attributes his sudden burst of academic focus to brotherly love and some good-natured sibling rivalry. Back when Kamal was 10, his older brother, Shashi, mentioned that he wanted to graduate from college as early as he could. That got Kamal thinking. If his brother, just one year older, could pursue something like that, why couldn’t he? Before long, the brothers were both working on their bachelor’s degrees, which they earned at the same time.
“My parents spent their savings to support our success, and they gave of their time to explain key concepts I needed help with,” said Kamal. “My brother, who is a Cumberlands student currently, is a high-quality programmer and a visionary. He always guided me in the right direction; in fact, he took a couple of breaks in his education to help me be successful.”
Kamal’s professors noticed his work ethic and positive attitude early on.
“Kamal is a high achiever. My ISOL-699 course didn’t start until June 29, and Kamal was trying to access the course back in May. That shows you how eager he was to start learning,” said Dr. Machica McClain, Director of the MSSIS program at Cumberlands.
Her class taught students how to handle a real-life information security issue by evaluating a problem, identifying potential solutions, and implementing the best solution, according to Cumberlands’ website.
“From the start of the course, Kamal was on point and ready to develop a security assessment plan for a company. He was understanding of any feedback I provided and applied it to his work,” Dr. McClain added. “He is respectful and humble, and I do believe he will go far in life. It is an honor to impact and shape the mind of this young man, and I wish him all the best.”
Kamal said Dr. McClain’s course was his favorite subject. He praised a number of his professors for their high-quality, “almost military-grade” IT security teaching, user-friendly online learning setup, personalized approach and individual attention to him as a student, and provision of extra explanations and resources to help him grasp his courses’ material.
“Indeed, it’s a journey,” he said. “I can credit all my professors and my student success coordinator, Logan Isaacs, who guided me at each and every step. Several professors played a vital role in my success.”
Parents Ravi and Durga Yerra have supported both Kamal and his brother in their academic pursuits. They are immensely proud of their children.
“We’re so glad that both of our children have been gifted with a natural ability to learn beyond measure and excel in their academic endeavors,” the parents told a news outlet.
Both parents were born and raised in India before moving to the U.S. to advance their careers and offer better opportunities for their children. Seeing as they are both software professionals, it’s no surprise that young Kamal gets his talent for technology.
With a high school education and (soon) three college degrees under his belt, the natural question is, “What will Kamal do now?” Unsurprisingly, he’s already gotten started on his career goals. Kamal and Shashi are working together with other developers at NthEye, LLC, to develop a product for online proctoring software and solutions, to help universities conduct exams online securely. Someday – possibly within the next five years – Kamal hopes to be CEO of a company. He is also considering pursuing a Ph.D. at Cumberlands, and if so, would be one of the youngest students to do so.