Years ago, when college and career were still far from his mind, a young Michael Nastac watched a television show that would ultimately shape the trajectory of his life. The program was “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.” As Nastac listened to scientist Carl Sagan discuss space and the universe in the context of humanity, it sparked in him an irrepressible interest in mathematics and science.
“Before I saw the show, I didn’t think of math and science as beautiful. But after watching it, it changed the way I looked at the subjects,” explained Nastac, now a senior mathematics and physics dual-degree student at the University of Maryland. “To understand the world around us requires mathematics.”
For the past 4 years, UMD'd Putnam team has ranked in the top 15.
A team of undergraduates from the University of Maryland placed 14th out of 488 teams and earned an honorable mention nod in the 2019 William Lowell Putnam Mathematical Competition, popularly called “the Putnam.” For the past four years, UMD’s Putnam team has ranked in the top 15.
The math major, who played pick-up games at the Eppley Recreation Center as a freshman, was a reserve on the men’s basketball team as a senior.
Will Clark went to 2017’s Maryland Madness, one of the UMD basketball teams’ preseason fan events, and joked with friends about sneaking into the men’s layup line.
He passed on the prank then, but one year later, he was doing the drill alongside Bruno Fernando and Jalen Smith as his pals cheered from the stands.
During Clark’s junior year, Head Coach Mark Turgeon’s Terps were looking to add some height, the 6-foot-8-inch club player measured up, and now the walk-on is living the dream of just about any club athlete.