It is with deep sadness that we note that Sandip Nirmel ’17 passed away May 23, 2019, with his parents at his side, after an extended illness while at Harvard University. He was a computer science student exploring artificial intelligence, finance and entrepreneurship.
Nirmel attended The Harker School starting in grade 6 in 2010. He was class president in grades 9, 10 and 11, and associated student body president in his senior year. Nirmel was secretary-general of the Model United Nations Program, a member of the research program, a member of the congressional debate team, a four-year member of the varsity boys golf team and a member of the Challenge Success team. He was also a member of the DECA chapter at Harker. As a class agent for the Class of 2017, his commitment to Harker was ongoing.
Following Harker, he attended Harvard University where he studied computer science with a focus on mind, brain and behavior. He would have graduated in 2021. While at Harvard, he was a case team leader at Harvard College Consulting Group, senior investment research analyst at Harvard Financial Analysts Club and vice chair of the Harvard Society for Mind, Brain and Behavior.
Prior to starting at Harvard, Nirmel interned at Vertex Pharmaceuticals, where he helped develop an artificial intelligence solution to automatically segment histological imaging data. He also worked in the Ocean Biogeochemistry Lab of the Stanford School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, where he took a data-driven approach to identifying drivers of sinking behavior of Antarctic phytoplankton and ice algae.
A man of many interests, Nirmel noted on his LinkedIn page, “I am an ambitious, fast-paced CS undergraduate at Harvard. I take on the toughest challenges and overcome them with a smile on my face. I live by a simple motto: ‘Why not?’”
He lived his motto. Nirmel volunteered with the organization Youth on Course, founding its volunteer program and a small grants program. He attended and spoke at fundraisers for the group. He was on the organization’s leadership council for four years, serving as president for 18 months before graduation. For his dedication and hard work, he was given The First Tee/Youth on Course Sandy Tatum Leadership Award.
Nirmel earned numerous honors and awards, including being named a Forbes 30 Under 30 Scholar, National Merit scholar, Regeneron Science Talent Search Top 300 scholar and Siemens Competition semifinalist. He also earned a rare perfect score on the AP Microeconomics in his senior year.
Nirmel spoke Chinese and Spanish, along with English.
He was published as well. His papers include “Distribution of Phaeocystis Antarctica-Dominated Sea Ice Algal Communities and Their Potential to Seed Phytoplankton Across the West Antarctic Peninsula in Spring”; “Geoengineering: Turning Back the Climate Change Clock?”; and “Carbon Sinks in a Changing Climate: Relative Buoyancy and Sinking Potentials of Various Antarctic Phytoplankton and Ice Algae.”
Nirmel was also a musician of note, having passed the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music’s examinations for grade 5 music theory, grade 8 piano and grade 8 violin.
Jennifer Gargano, Harker’s assistant head of school for academic affairs, noted Nirmel was “one of the nicest and most mature students that have gone through our halls. He was one of our Challenge Success student representatives who worked with our committee to make some important changes in the areas of balance and wellness.”
Our deepest sympathies to the family, classmates and friends of this wonderful young man. Private memorial services were held in Massachusetts.
A memorial service will be held in Nichols Auditorium at The Harker upper school, 500 Saratoga Avenue, San Jose, on Sat., June 22, 1:00 p.m.-2:30 p.m.. Donations can be made to San Jose Animal Shelter’s “Guardian Angel Fund.” http://www.sanjoseca.gov/index.aspx?NID=2765
Send cards to Kristina Alaniz, Alumni Director, The Harker School, 500 Saratoga Ave., San Jose, CA 95129.