Oral Histories

Dave Sahota


Dave Sahota


Media is loading



Dave Sahota, class of 1999, grew up in Ottawa and didn’t feel like the school there offered enough opportunities or challenges. IMSA seemed like an obvious choice to expand learning opportunities and find other like-minded students.

In eighth grade Sahota visited IMSA on a field-trip and was excited by the labs and the students he saw. On arrival sophomore year, fall 1996, he recalls immediately being thrown into new experiences. He played soccer and baseball and got involved in math team, chess club, and Club Pseudo. He also recalls the excitement of in-room networking, his first exposure to an internet connection faster than dial-up.

In terms of classes, he particularly liked physics and math. However, he found the humanities classes more engaging and challenging than he’d expected, particularly Dr. Kiely’s history class and English with Pat McWilliams. The English classes overall sparked his interests in reading. Senior year, Sahota took a number theory class with Dr. Fogel and it led him to eventually do a Ph.D. in math. He struggled in the class, but the challenge helped him see what he could do. Overall, he appreciated the IMSA curriculum’s general approach to learning through practical problem-solving and collaboration.

After graduating from IMSA Sahota attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. His classes at IMSA had given him a solid grounding and helped make the transition to college easier. After undergrad, Sahota stayed at UIC and completed a Ph.D. in math. He worked in quantitative finance for several years and recently completed a master’s in computer science. He currently works as a data scientist at Facebook. He also teaches occasional classes and looks back to his IMSA classes as a model for teaching.

Interviewer: Sara Goek. Duration: 24:32




alumni, careers, English classes, extracurriculars, history classes, humanities, math classes


Oral history


Digital Video Recording


Copy permitted for study or investigation purposes, citing the source Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. Any other use requires permission. For more information please contact archives@imsa.edu.

Dave Sahota