EECS major Sam Kumar is a runner up for the 2017 University Medal. Candidates for the University Medal must have overcome significant challenges, made a difference in the lives of others and carry a GPA of 3.96 or higher. Sam is involved in research related to software-defined buildings, has spent each semester volunteering time as a tutor, allowing him to give back to a community that he said has been instrumental to his time as a student. One of his favorite memories from Cal involves a class in Sanskrit. “Before we got to the literature, we had to learn the basics. We started were reading simple passages and doing vocabulary exercises to get the basics, but eventually I was able to read authentic texts from thousands of years ago. Being able to read an ancient language – after only two semesters of studying – was a breathtaking moment for me.” Sam will receive a $500 award as a tribute to his academic efforts and, after graduation, he plans to work on a Ph.D. in computer science.