By: Krystle Crossman
Being introduced and praised by the President of the United States is not something that many teens get to experience in their lives. Piscataway, NJ resident Saheela Ibraheem was one of the lucky few. At just 16 years old she was placed in the World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers list. President Barack Obama took notice of this bright young woman and invited her to Washington DC to introduce him at a reception for the kickoff of Black History Month. When he stepped up to the podium he stated that this exceptional young woman, who was attending Harvard before she turned 17, was someone who was inspiring to the future.
Ibraheem, now 20 years old, is graduating from Harvard where she studied neurobiology with computer science as a secondary degree. She plans on entering the academic world for a career and will be attending graduate school. She plans on taking a year off between her Harvard graduation this year and her first year as a graduate student though. She states that she has no plans for the year off at the moment. In looking back at all she has accomplished in the last five years of her life it seems the break is well-deserved.
Accepted to Harvard at 15 and beginning classes at 16 is no small feat. However Ibraheem seemed to fit right in and had no trouble with her academics. She took one of the toughest math courses that was offered. She was a teaching fellow for the largest class at Harvard which was Introduction to Computer Science. Her interest in neurobiology came about when she checked out a copy of Gray’s Anatomy at the school library. She found that Harvard had an extensive neurobiology research lab and was determined to go there. She has put her knowledge and willingness to help others into action by being a a part of the Science Club for Girls which was an after-school mentoring club. She was also a part of the Harvard Islamic Society and Dreamporte which is a group that incorporates 3D technology into lessons about the world for foster children.
It will be interesting to follow this bright young woman’s career.