Riya Danait (Class of 2019)

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If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.
— Milton Berle

What are some fun facts about you?

“I guess some fun facts would be I like Rubik’s cubes and maze- and sequential-type puzzles. I have a collection of them actually, so that’s pretty interesting. I’ve actually recently been trying to read more of the classics like Anna Karenina and a few others. Oh another, this is kind of weird, I can wave my eyebrows.”

In what club(s) are you an exec? How are those club(s) going?

“I’m an exec for MAO. It’s been pretty good. I think we’ve done a good job of trying to get more participation in math competitions. I think it’s kind of hard to do that because there’s a stigma that you have to be really good in order to participate, so we’ve been trying to advertise some of those smaller competitions and people have been doing really well in them so that’s pretty nice. Hopefully, next year’s execs will also be able to continue that.”

Do you do a lot of volunteering? What was your most memorable and impactful volunteering moment?

“I did more volunteering in my Junior year I guess and a lot of it was related to MAO. We went to Sam Houston elementary school and tutored fourth and fifth graders in math, so that was a nice experience, and interacting with the local Denton community was also nice. I think the event that made me the happiest was one that a friend, Akila Muthukumar, and I created last year where we got ten TAMS kids to appraise local Destination Imagination tournaments that was pretty fulfilling and pretty fun too.”

What advice do you have for incoming Juniors and upcoming Seniors?

“I guess just enjoy your time here because it’s been crazy how fast the time has passed since we moved in the first day of Junior year, so enjoy your time. Try to meet as many people as possible and don’t beat yourself up over one bad test grade because there’s always chances to improve and ten years down the line, you’re not going to remember that, you’re going to remember some of the more concrete or even some of the smaller memories at TAMS, the ones you made with friends.”

What were your happiest and saddest moments at TAMS?

“My happiest moment would be probably when I was selected to be Vice President of Mu Alpha Theta because I was very invested in the club and very passionate for it to be more inclusive for the TAMS environment, so I guess that would be the happiest moment for me. As for my saddest moment, I don’t really know if I had a very sad moment. I guess maybe this year maybe reconnect with the same friend group that we had in Junior year, so it’s a little bit harder, not to reach out to them, but to plan events, like something as simple as going to dinner has been really hard to do. I don’t think it’s just because of where we’re living in the dorms, I think it’s because a lot of our mutual friends left TAMS and it’s been really hard to come together as a group again, so that I guess is one of the sadder moments.”

If you could redo one thing at TAMS, what would it be?

“I think academic-wise, I wouldn’t redo anything, but social-wise I would try to be more open and outgoing because I don’t think I’m naturally an outgoing person, but I would probably try to talk to more people sooner.”

What was your biggest achievement at TAMS?

“Probably being chosen to participate in the TAMU math test Junior year because I remember that the tryout test was notoriously hard and after I took the test, everyone was comparing answers saying it was really hard, so that was probably my proudest moment.”

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