Sai Sarnala (Class of 2021)

by Alex Zhang

Junior Sai Sarnala is one of the TAMStars of the week. I spoke with him about his passions, volunteer work, and his fascination with plant biology.

Sai Sarnala poses in front of a McConnell Hall mural. Photo taken by Raffer Li of Replay.

Sai Sarnala poses in front of a McConnell Hall mural. Photo taken by Raffer Li of Replay.

So, Sai, I’ll start with the same question I asked the other TAMStar of the week: What brought you to TAMS? How did you hear about it and why did you decide to attend?

Sai: I heard about TAMS from my family friends [who] happened to be TAMSters. Everytime I saw them, they would talk about how great TAMS was, and that got me really interested about the program.

Sai: I chose to attend TAMS because I wanted to dedicate more of my time to things I cared about, other than my academics. At my old school, I simply did not have much time to participate in a lot of my extracurricular activities and couldn’t find much time to spend with family and friends. At TAMS, I can spend more time doing things I truly love.

And what is it that you love doing?

Sai: I enjoy playing basketball, researching, volunteering, and hanging out with friends.

You’ve started doing research already?

Sai: Yes.

What kind of research are you doing? And why did you decide to look into that field?

Sai: I am doing plant biology research. Although they seem uninteresting, plants undergo many complex processes and chemical pathways that produce certain desirable products that have many commercial and health-related applications.

I wanted to dedicate more of my time to things I cared about, other than my academics... At TAMS, I can spend more time doing things I truly love.

Is there a specific application you're looking into?

Sai: Our lab is trying to genetically modify Medicago sativa (Alfalfa) plants to increase the production of proanthocyanidins, which are chemicals that have been shown to reduce plant bloating and cardiovascular disease [in] humans.

Sounds fascinating. So tell me a little about what kind of volunteering work you like to do.

Sai: Last year I was really involved with the Childrens' Hospital. I, along with 4 other people, helped raise about $2000 for the hospital last year. I primarily raised money by tutoring kids in my neighborhood and asking people in my religious community to support the cause that we were fighting for.

Thanks for speaking with us!

Check out our interview with Issac Mathew, the other TAMStar of the week!

Replay TAMS