By Bruce Adams
A senior at The Haverford School, Mitav Nayak serves as the 2021-22 Student Body President. He also serves as the Editor-in-Chief of The Index (school newspaper), Editor-in-Chief & Designer in Chief of Newton’s Notebook (school STEM journal), and Model UN President. Nayak is also the Jazz Band President, the Math Club President, and the founder and president of the Economics/Stock Market Club and the Science Club. He is also a member of the Cum Laude Society (highest academic honor) and the Hephaestus Society (highest extracurricular honor). Nayak is an intern at Watermill Asset Management in New York City, during which he has researched biotech and med-tech companies about to come public through IPOs. He conducted summer research at Penn after being accepted into the Gene Therapy Program Student Internship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked with researchers repurposing drugs for rare diseases. Nayak has received multiple awards, including the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Prize in Economics, the Yale Club of Philadelphia Book Award, and several awards for his journalism and writing work. He is captain of the Fords’ squash team, and individually, he is ranked 10th in the U19 age division in the United States.
Main Line Media News: Tell us a little about your goals as Student Body President.
Mitav Nayak: My goals as President are deeply rooted in the virtue of the year, “support,” which our Head of School, Mr. Casertano, and I chose over the summer. I hope to foster support, mentorship, and brotherhood in our community, which we are doing through lunches with leadership groups and underclassmen, assemblies, and even new competitions and games; all of these moments allow connections between students to form naturally. To better support my peers, I have implemented a monthly polling system, where students vote on proposed changes to directly influence our next steps; in the polls, they can also write directly to me and explain how I can best lead the student body. I read every response to help improve my leadership.
Main Line Media News: What has been your most memorable experience as Student Body President to date?
Mitav Nayak: Addressing the entire school on Sabol Field this September was a special moment. It had been two years since we last gathered together, so it was quite surreal to see everyone—students, faculty, and staff—in one place. I used the opportunity to share my vision for the year and to speak about how we can all embody support.
Main Line Media News: Tell us a little about your internship at Watermill Asset Management, and what you’ve learned there.
Mitav Nayak: At Watermill, I’ve learned so much about the biotech field through participation in calls with executive management, company research, and data analysis. Advancements in the field are constantly occurring, and it is rewarding and exciting to see how firms can provide capital to drive this innovation forward. One of the companies I worked on and Watermill invested in, Pandion Therapeutics, was developing novel immune modulators for autoimmune diseases. It was recently acquired by Merck.
Main Line Media News: Tell us a little about the Economics and Stock Market Club, and its purpose.
Mitav Nayak: In the Economics and Stock Market Club, we have designed an online stock market simulation where students control hypothetical portfolios as they see fit. Already, 160 students have joined the game, and our first club meeting had over 40 attendees. At our meetings, we discuss the overall market and—with the help of our club advisor, Dr. Gottlieb—we educate the club members about finance and economics.
Main Line Media News: What has been the most interesting decision you have had to make as the Editor-in-Chief of The Index – can you share with us the issues involved?
Mitav Nayak: The expansion of The Index’s social media presence was one of the most impactful decisions. We live in a digital world, and much of our audience reads articles online. When we looked at trends on our website, we could see how engagement increased whenever we posted the publication on social media. We decided to launch an Instagram page, and our following is now growing steadily. We hope this change allows young alumni to stay connected to the school and to continue reading our newspaper in college.
Main Line Media News: Off campus, you are a Germination Project Fellow and have been an intern for the Pamela and Ajay Raju Foundation, during which you led a week-long boot camp with Penn Medicine. Can you tell us a little about the boot camp – what you learned, and your most memorable experience with the camp?
Mitav Nayak: At the boot camp, we invited high profile figures at Penn Medicine who are doing incredible, life-saving work—from Dr. Kevin Mahoney, the CEO of Penn Medicine, to Dr. Scott Levin, the surgeon who performed the first ever double-hand transplant. My most memorable experience was hearing pitches from boot camp attendees. Studying life science research being conducted at Penn Medicine, they created a pitch to raise capital from a notional biotech venture fund.
Main Line Media News: What is your favorite performance song with the saxophone, and why?
Mitav Nayak: Charlie Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce” is one of my favorites. Charlie Parker was the most influential saxophonist ever, and any music of his is sublime. “Billie’s Bounce” stands out as a great example of the bebop style of jazz, a revolutionary movement that Parker is most credited for starting.
Main Line Media News: What originally sparked your interest in squash?
Mitav Nayak: Squash is physically demanding yet also strategic: you need the composure and mental toughness to make thousands of split-second decisions while your heart rate is at 190 BPM. This combination of mental and physical challenge is what originally attracted me to the sport.