When Sajant Anand first stepped onto campus, he knew he wanted to major in both physics and computer science. Now, his incredible ambition, dedication and drive will earn him a degree in both fields, as well as a minor in mathematics.
“Most people end up choosing to master one discipline and to know a cursory portion of another,” said Samuel Cho, a professor of physics and computer science. “To see someone of Sajant’s age already demonstrating strong competence in both in terms of breadth and depth is truly exceptional. I keep looking forward to seeing what cool thing he is going to do next, again and again.”
In addition to all of his classes, Anand is a Presidential Flute Scholar, a member of the orchestra, was president of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) club and conducted research for both the Cho Research Group and Jurchescu Research Group.
“Sajant has embraced the liberal arts education and has thrived at Wake Forest,” said Oana Jurchescu, a physics professor. “He set the standards for himself very high and he was very focused and determined to even exceed these expectations. He is just brilliant! At the same time, he is a great colleague who is loved by all group members, is funny, and a joy to work in the lab with.”
Anand said he will most miss the camaraderie he has found on campus, specifically within the computer science department.
“It is fun to build a community in a department where the faculty are willing to do stuff outside of normal work hours to get students interested in computer science,” he said.
In recent weeks, Anand has had a “jam session” on the flute with Professor Todd Torgersen playing ukulele, and took part in a tradition with Professor Errin Fulp wherein a group of students order blooming onions at the local Outback Steakhouse on the bet that, if they each finish an appetizer, Fulp will pay for it (he finished it, barely).
“It’s something I never would have imagined four years ago,” Anand said. “If you went to a large state school, I don’t know how well you’ll get to know your faculty members on the same level and do things so unrelated to academics.”
Anand also fondly remembers playing in the annual Halloween Orchestra Concert. For the concert, students all dress in costume and play pranks on the conductor throughout the show.
“[The Halloween concert is] probably responsible for some of my best memories of Wake, because you have the audience all there for a good time, and you can do crazy things you’d never do on stage otherwise,” Anand said.
He enjoys performing, and is glad that he continued to play flute in college, having first picked up the instrument when he was five.
“You get a rush from doing something when you’ve worked so hard to get it right,” Anand said. “Also, it’s nice to have that relaxation, where you go from doing quantitative stuff to using a different part of your brain to play an instrument.”
When not studying or playing flute, Anand was a teacher’s assistant and mentored a team of high school girls competing in the First Robotics Competition (FRC) who ended up winning the state championship for their robot.
“It was an especially rewarding experience to be able to help them, since it was their first foray into hands-on STEM outside of a textbook,” Anand said. “Half the reason I joined STEM was because of the mentors I had in high school; they were really excited and that rubbed off on me.”
After graduation, Anand will be getting his Masters in Applied Math in Cambridge, England, and will then pursue a PhD in physics or math. Long-term he hopes to eventually become a university professor.