Maths boffin, Mr Nashlen Govindasamy, was encouraged by his teachers and family to participate in Mathematics and Science Olympiads, which sparked his interest in Mathematics.
After matriculating at Star College with eight distinctions, he received a scholarship and registered for a Bachelor of Science (BSc) degree at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s (UKZN) College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES).
Govindasamy was one of the very few students who undertook three majors which included pure mathematics, applied mathematics and computer science.
His exceptional performance was consistent in all three years of study, attaining a total of 20 Certificate of Merits and the Dean’s Commendation each year. Based on his outstanding results in his first two years, he scooped the CAES Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s Scholarship.
Govindasamy’s dedication saw him graduating summa cum laude in Bachelor of Science with three majors.
His interest in research inspired him to undertake his BSc honours degree and hopes to continue his passion by undertaking his masters and PhD. Govindasamy acknowledged the friendly staff of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science (MSCS), particularly the Mathematics department.
Dr Paran Pillay, a senior lecturer in the School of MSCS described him as one of the most exceptional students she has ever taught. ‘He is one of those very rare students who is able to create his own mathematics, usually working it all out in his head rather than on paper,’ she said. ‘On many occasions, I saw this in action where I would ask him to do a tutorial problem on the board, which he apparently had not seen before, and he would do it there for the first time.’
Mr Anban Pillay, a lecturer in the School of MSCS echoed similar sentiments adding that Govindasamy has the potential to be an exceptional scholar. ‘His academic performance is phenomenal but his depth of understanding, especially of mathematics, makes this student truly phenomenal. We have great expectations of any future career he embarks on and hope that he decides to pursue a path in academia.’
His dad, Colin, said: ‘I am extremely proud of Nashlen who has always worked hard to ensure that his goals are reached.’
Coupled with his interest in mathematics, Govindasamy also plays chess for the South African Chess team. He started to play chess at the tender age of nine and went on to win the KwaZulu-Natal Chess Championship.
His secret to his success: ‘Keeping it simple.’
Words: Leena Rajpal