Sidharth Sundar Selected as December Commencement Banner Bearer

Nov. 29, 2023

Student Spotlight: Sidharth Sundar

Sundar has been selected to serve as the student banner bearer for Speed School at the winter 2023 commencement ceremony.

By Danielle Henson

Sidharth Sundar has been selected to serve as the student banner bearer for the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the winter 2023 commencement ceremony.

Sidharth is a senior majoring in Computer Science Engineering and will be graduating this December. As an engineering student with a passion for both math and computer science, Sidharth was drawn to the UofL Speed School program due to its reputation for excellence in engineering fields. “I am a very mathematically oriented person. So, when I was going into college, I intended to go initially into applied math, which the University of Louisville doesn’t have a program for. They have computer science, and I went into it initially [because] I wanted to make a nice salary [post-graduation] and be happy with my work,” said Sidharth.

Through his time in the program, Sidharth’s interests have shifted more towards computer science research. “I think computer science is really interesting because you get to tackle problems. For example, you have a set of tools which have specific purposes, and you can mix them together and ideate really creative ways to solve real world problems. It’s also just a very widely necessary field in the world as it is right now, and my interests have shifted more so from industry related computer science to computer science research,” Sidharth shared.

Sidharth’s experience serving as a teaching assistant (TA) for the Operating Systems class further sparked his passion for teaching. “I was a TA for three semesters through Speed School for the operating systems class, and that’s a [big] class that’s mandatory for all engineering students to go through. It’s considered to be hard, so I was a lot more hands-on in that class, working with students more than other TAs are generally in their classes, which is very nice,” said Sidharth. He is currently applying to PhD programs to pursue his dream of becoming a computer science professor. Sidharth has also gained hands-on research experience through collaborating with Dr. Nihat Altiparmak’s lab on campus. “Dr. Altiparmak, who’s also the professor for the operating systems class recruited me out of this class and I’ve been working in that lab from the Spring 2021 semester onwards through the summer,” Sidharth recounted.

He served as a paid intern for the lab that summer, aiding specific research projects. Sidharth has continued assisting with lab work while also pursuing his own computer science research interests. He and the lab published two research papers resulting from their collaborative efforts. The opportunity to partner with Dr. Altiparmak and other researchers has provided Sidharth invaluable experience that will serve him well as he applies to PhD programs. His demonstrated research abilities further exemplify Sidharth’s commitment to advancing the field of computer science.

Since his first year at Speed School, Sidharth has been actively involved in competitive programming. “I got really involved in competitive programming – it’s a mind sport where you try to solve a task as optimally [as possible] with the program. That helped shape my technical prowess at computer science a lot,” said Sidharth.

He has also taken on leadership roles within student organizations. Sidharth shared, “the biggest student organization I’m apart of is ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, and last year I was the treasurer for them. They also have special interest groups, which are for groups of students working on subtasks in computer science.”

Under Sidharth’s leadership, ACM launched a new Computer Programming special interest group. “And I helped to bring computer programming in with that, the group held weekly meetings,” said Sidharth. His involvement in these extracurricular opportunities has further augmented his computer science knowledge and skills outside the classroom.

Sidharth’s dedication to competitive programming, leadership within ACM, and contributions to launching the Computer Programming special interest group demonstrate his passion for computer science and commitment to supporting his peers. These meaningful activities have enriched his Speed School experience over the past four years.

Sidharth is honored to represent the Speed School as the student flag bearer at Commencement this December. He credits his transformative Speed School experience with preparing him for future success.