Homeschool girl, 13, enters UT to study computing

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Sofia Tomov

Sofia Tomov

A 13-year-old homeschool girl, Sofia Tomov, is entering studies at the University of Tennessee starting with a course in coding.

She looks forward to furthering her passion with computers and problem-solving. “Computer science is a very interesting way to solve global-scale problems,” Sophia tells the UT Daily Beacon newspaper.

By David Tulis / Noogaradio 1240 AM 92.7 FM

She has published a children’s book, has a patent pending for a drug disposal device to keep water supplies clean, excelled in the ACT, passed two AP courses by age 12 and in 2016 had enrolled in three more AP courses.

The Knoxville resident enjoys fencing, playing David Bowie tunes on a guitar and spending time in nature. The girl who hopes to pursue a career in the energy field will be dual enrolled as both high school and university student.

She is a recipient of the scholarship that is given to seventh graders who are the 97th percentile. Last fall she was a finalist in contest for young scientists in which she presented the project on an algorithm that examines genetic code for mutations to reduce the negative effects of prescription drugs.

“So far they have not found a feasible solution because the algorithms are taking too long to run on a 6 billion base-long genome,” says Sofia. “For patients in emergency situations such as a heart attack or a seizure, this is a huge health risk.”

The girl often spends time at UT Gardens and at the UT Arboretum, where she takes photographs and writes in a journal. She enjoys studying bird calls and aims her lens at birds, insects and fungi.

“As a homeschooling mom,” says her mother, Beverly, “the two biggest lessons I’ve learned from raising and teaching Sofia are the importance of learning by doing. And the importance of connecting – connecting ideas, connecting to nature, connecting to each other.”

The girl has a privileged background. Her father is Stanimire “Stan” Tomov, research director at the Innovative Computing Lab at UT.

Sources: Priya Narapareddy, “13-year-old to attend UT next semester,” UT daily Beacon, Feb. 16, 2017

Casey Leins, “Tennessee Girl Creates Algorithm to Stop Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs,” USnews.com, Oct. 5, 2016

David Tulis, editor of Nooganomics.com, covers local economy and free markets in Chattanooga and beyond at 1240 AM 92.7 FM.

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