Kaganov balances school, clubs, and a spot on men’s crew


Kaganov, center, with her teammates after getting 3rd in Midwest.

Pioneer sophomore Anna Kaganov found her path at a young age. For most high school students, picking one thing to study in college is a hard decision. Kaganov, however, is already certain. She found her passion in computer science but keeps her horizons broad with a grueling schedule of activities that she says are more fun than work.

“There are other things that interest me,” she said, and she appreciates the way she can incorporate those into computer programming, noting such diversity is “the beauty of computer science!”

Kaganov belongs to three clubs outside of school: Science Olympiad, “Girls Who Code,” and “Math Circle.”  Girls Who Code is a group dedicated to increasing women’s participation in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), with a particular interest in computer programming.  Kaganov enjoys this group because it aligns directly with her future goals. Math Circle is a group of middle- and high-school students who try to strengthen their math skills, and Kaganov has been a part of this organization since sixth grade.  Similarly, Science Olympiad, a group encouraging young peoples’ participation in specific scientific fields, has been part of her life since a very young age (elementary school). All of these groups directly support her future goals as a computer scientist.

She also is on the Pioneer Crew team — the men’s team — where she is a coxswain. “To be a coxswain, you have to be short and light,” she said.  But more than physical characteristics are important for this role. Another important part of this job is instructing the rowers in the direction they should row and coordinating their power and rhythm, which displays her strong leadership qualities. Shannon Sherman, Kaganov’s Pioneer mathematics teacher, says, “She is the kind of student that is a quiet leader. She leads by example.”  Kaganov’s ability to lead both directly and by example is admired by those who know her. “I’ve never seen any so dedicated,” says close friend, Pioneer sophomore Marisa Jordan. “Everyone loves loves her.”

All together, Kaganov has an activity every afternoon. “It’s kind of rough sometimes,” she remarks. “I have so much homework and then crew.”  Many students may be shocked at the amount of AP classes Kaganov takes. She demonstrates her intelligence in her math class, AP Calculus, a class usually filled with juniors and seniors, where Sherman says she is “a fabulous student to teach.”  The work-load for that class alone is too much for some to handle, but combined with crew practices and club meetings, Kaganov is always busy. “Her schedule is so chaotic but she always finds time for everything, even her friends,” says Jordan. “Her hard work pays off.”  

 “The main thing I do is I have a planner, I write down what I have to do today and when I can fit it in.  I schedule myself to keep myself moving,” Kaganov said. Even with all of her obligations, she manages to have time for her friends and regularly participates in social events outside of school.

Finishing up most of her science and math credits as a sophomore, Kaganov finds herself with more options for classes. “I kind of have more time to do what I want to do and not what I’m required to do,” she says. If Pioneer cannot her supply with enough classes, she plans to attend a few at Washtenaw Community College. After high school, Kaganov plans to pursue a degree in computer science. Is the University of Michigan in her plans? “I haven’t really thought about it,” she says. “Michigan is obviously a really good school.” 

Whatever Kaganov chooses to do in her future, it is evident that she will succeed. As her friend Jordan remarks, Kaganov “is truly an extraordinary person.”