Overlake’s Srivastava digs into jazz and computer science

Tapan Srivastava's father once told him, "It's fun when things start working."

Tapan Srivastava’s father once told him, “It’s fun when things start working.”

The Overlake School senior has spent copious late nights poring over projects, working diligently to bring his dreams to fruition.

While seated in a room in the Redmond school’s main office on Monday, the student smiled and said putting in the maximum effort has been rewarding. He’s developed two iPhone apps — Jazz Improv for musicians and Kaviar for scientists — and the alto saxophonist was proud to whip out his phone and display the app for players in the musical realm.

Srivastava, 18, feels that studying at Overlake has opened the doors of creativity for him and his fellow students.

“Coming to Overlake has put me in a place to develop my ideas,” he said. “It’s cool to create something to put into the world.”

With the published Jazz Improv app, musicians can punch in chord changes and find out what notes, chords or patterns will sound best. The presently unpublished Kaviar (which Srivastava developed based on the original web app while interning at the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle) deals with single nucleotide variants, indels and complex variants observed in humans.

Srivastava, who has attended Overlake since the fifth grade, said he looked forward to joining the student body after listening to his older brother and sister discuss the invaluable teacher-student relationships when they went to the school.

He’s impressed with the inclusive atmosphere at Overlake, where there’s a healthy competition among the tight-knit student body, he said.

“We’re here to support each other and there’s a really great bond with the teachers — they really take an interest in us and work to help us grow,” said Srivastava, who noted that students learn about their teachers’ lives, as well.

The University of Chicago-bound student hasn’t decided on a major yet, and that’s because he’s got so many interests: computer science, biology, math and more. When the time comes to choose, he plans to major and minor in two of those fields.

“Doing it in isolation is a lost opportunity,” said Srivastava, who is most passionate about computer science, which is a field his father and brother reside in while his sister chose the biologist path.

While Srivastava also played tennis at Overlake, helped put the Math Club back on the map and was first chair alto sax in the jazz band, his role as one of two student-chosen speakers at graduation will rank high on his accomplishment list.

“I enjoy public speaking. It’s a big role and you can really define the tone of graduation,” he said. “It’s a good vote of confidence (from my fellow students). It’s an honor.”

He’ll speak about unity and how the senior class has come together in the last year, and his perception of the class and its dynamic, weird and unique sense of humor and style.

Speaking at commencement — set for 4 p.m. Sunday in the school gym — will be Srivastava’s final task on a campus that has been the ideal home away from home for students.