Student Profile: Viraj Shah ’23

Leo Huang, Campus Reporter

Viraj Shah ’23, who excels in math and has won awards in multiple math competitions,  is a also peer tutor, a team leader, and a varsity squash player.

Viraj started taking math seriously when he was in sixth grade, the time when he actually realized the simplicity and beauty of math. After that, he dove deeper and deeper into the world of math, and started to homeschool, dedicating all of his time to competitive math solving. Now as a student at Kent, Viraj continues his journey in competitive math with the help of his advisor and math mentor, Mr. Tolfree, whom Viraj appreciated very much for his style of teaching. “Mr. Tolfree is a teacher who lets the students experience what math actually feels like, instead of just learning the formulas,” Viraj said.

With his expertise in Math, Viraj helps other students as a peer tutor. Instead of teaching how to solve problems, he loves to let the students who hated math or struggled in math learn the simplicity of it, similar to what his coaches used to do. He loves to see the process of realization that lets people appreciate the real beauty of Math. “I really enjoy peer tutoring. It is a chance for me to help people who are in a similar scenario” to when he was a younger math student, Viraj said.

Besides Math, Viraj is also a varsity squash player. Having no previous experience of squash before Kent, Viraj spent most of his free time, with the help of Mr. Seth, practicing squash. He seeks inspiration when playing squash — he takes squash as a math problem, where you need to control the angles of the ball and predict where it bounces and lands. He is also fascinated by the flexibility and diversity of the strokes in squash. “A shot can be defensive or aggressive depending on the angle of the hitting,” said Viraj.

Asked about how he has taken so much on, Viraj reflected: “When you want to start something, I know this sounds a little bit cliche, but just do it.”