Student Squared: Adrian Salgado ’27

Staff Writer Carys Shepard ’27 interviews Adrian Salgado ’27 in this edition of Student Squared. Adrian discusses homeschooling, officiating tennis matches, and his experience adjusting to college.

Student Squared: Adrian Salgado ’27
Adrian Salgado ’27 has been running tennis tournaments since the age of 12. Photo courtesy of Claire Beougher ’26.

Carys Shepard ’27: I just want to start off by asking you, as a freshman, how the transition to Amherst has been so far?

Adrian Salgado ’27: So far, it’s been pretty good … I didn’t really know what to expect, but it went well overall.

CS: I noticed that you’ve done a lot before college. How did you decide to start your own company? And what was that process like?

AS: Actually, I’ve been running tennis tournaments since I was about 12. That’s when I first started volunteering at tennis tournaments. And then … I got promoted to head of tournament desk a few years after that. I became tournament director. And then after just a few months of doing that, my club was having their roof redone. So we weren’t going to be able to run tournaments that summer. So I decided, “Oh, well. I wonder if it’d be feasible if I just ran … this on my own.” So I looked into it. I just rented out a local high school sports gym, and it worked out.

CS: That’s really cool. So it looks like you had a lot of travel to do?

AS: That’s actually for officiating, which is a different thing. So one tennis-related thing I do is running tennis tournaments. Another is officiating junior tennis and college tennis. So I did that over the summer. I did a lot of junior tennis in Indiana, Texas. I went to Texas for training workshops, Florida, Michigan for national championships. [It] was nice because they pay for my travel, they pay for my hotel, and they pay me for working there. So it’s fun, it’s something outdoors.

CS: How did you balance high school with running tournaments and traveling for officiating? Or was that just during the summer?

AS: So during the summer is definitely more the travel-heavy part since that’s much harder to coordinate with my academics definitely. But … during the school year, I actually officiate college tennis since that’s generally on the weekends. February 2023 was my first college season. I loved it because my mentor had a lot of faith in me. I didn’t have that much faith in me, but he put me in my first match: Northwestern men’s versus Harvard men’s. Division I tennis match, very intense. Actually, [on the] fourth point of the match I overrode Northwestern, and then the Northwestern coach came running over yelling. But it was fun. I definitely learned very quickly through those experiences. Since it was just enough [of a] challenge, not too much to where I just completely [failed, that it worked] out. And since then, I did a lot of matches that spring. I think I did 39 matches. I didn’t know what it would be like in college, how much free time I’d have. But this spring I’ve done one match so far and I’m booked almost every weekend in February, March, and April.

CS: Are you doing any Division III or just Division I?

AS: I did mainly D-I in Chicago because there was Northwestern and Chicago State. Although here, there’s a surprising number of D-III schools, actually, so I can do it in my spare time. I did some in the fall for teams like Smith, Mount Holyoke, MIT, and a few others. Right now in the spring, I’m working. Primarily I’m working UMass [Amherst] because I’m the closest official and they have a lot of matches. I learned with the match I did last weekend that they’re D-I — I thought they would be D3 but I guess it makes sense since they’re a big school.

CS: But you don’t play tennis anymore?

AS: Not anymore. Yeah, I played for about 10 years. Once Covid hit, my club shut down for a few months. I guess I kind of fell out of it. Even before Covid, I was kind of in the process of falling out and at the same time becoming more involved with tennis administration.

CS: Did I see that you went to an online high school? What was that like?

AS: Yeah, that’s definitely a popular question that I get asked. I [was] actually homeschooled [from] fourth grade through 10th grade. Then I switched to online school in 11th grade because I needed more of a social life … Especially during Covid, I’d go months without even leaving the house if I didn’t need to just because there [was] no need. I liked my school a lot because I loved the academic freedom with homeschooling. I didn’t have to wait to get into classes or worry about, “Oh, you have to do these prereqs.” I just signed up. I took courses through Northwestern’s Center for Talent Development Program, similar to Johns Hopkins CTY program that a lot of people know about.

CS: So you took courses online when you were homeschooling?

AS: Yeah. And then switching to online school … All my classes were through that actual institution, Stanford Online High School. And then I actually had classmates, we had in-person events like Homecoming every year, in November a winter festival, and then graduation and prom which they put in one weekend since everyone had to travel. So that was nice because we had an in-person graduation, you get to walk across the stage and everything.

Adrian Salgado ’27 reflects on his online homeschooling experience. Photo Courtesy of Adrian Salgado '27.

CS: Was there a reason you decided to switch to homeschooling?

AS: I think it was because I went to a private school before that. And my parents got annoyed that it was a relatively expensive private school. And both the combination of they weren’t sure if they could keep affording it and they didn’t like that they weren’t challenging us academically.

CS: That makes sense. What do you plan to study here and do you have any favorite classes so far?

AS: I’m a math and computer science double major. I took two math courses, one [computer science] course, and my first-year seminar. I’m definitely trying to branch out a little bit more this semester by taking one math, one stats, one CS, and one music. So pretty STEM-heavy, but I feel like at the end of the day it’s like, there’s no rush. I have more than enough time. So I’m actually excited to just try out other types of courses now that I’ve gotten most of the required courses out of the way for math.

CS: That’s awesome. So I also noticed that you’re a tour guide — do you have a favorite and least favorite part of your job?

AS: Actually, I have not started [as a] tour guide yet … I was a student ambassador at my high school. [Since] it was an online school, we didn’t have actual tours. We did get to speak a lot with prospective students, hold panels, answer their questions, talk to them about students, what it’s going to be like being there, so I figured being a tour guide is going to be a lot like that. Like you’re just interested in showing them the school and not even telling them, “Oh, Amherst is amazing. You’re going to love it.” Because maybe it’s not for everyone — just giving them the information that they need so that they can make that decision.

CS: Before we end, I want to ask you what have you enjoyed the most about being at Amherst so far and what has surprised you the most?

AS: What I’ve enjoyed is probably just the community here. Both within my friends and my peers, and even my professors. That was one of the main reasons I chose Amherst because I’d heard you get a lot of attention from the professors. And that’s definitely true. And not only that, but you also get a lot of support from them — they’re encouraging. They really want you to succeed. I’ve definitely seen that in the math department. So I loved all my courses last year, but in particular, both my math [classes were] pretty good. What was the second part?

CS: What surprised you?

AS: I didn’t really know what to expect since I hadn’t been to in-person school since third grade. So I figured lots would be surprising. Maybe what surprised me is I felt like it transitioned pretty well. I just came into it, and at first, it seemed like, “Oh, I’m just going to summer camp or something.” Summer camp [that] just didn’t end — it kept going.