A Muslim Girl amongst the World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers” List*
A Nigerian Muslim girl, has been reserved on the “The World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers” list.
Saheela Ibraheem, who lived in Edison, New Jersey.
“If you are passionate about what you do, and I am passionate about many things, especially math and science, it will work out well,” said 15 year old Saheela Ibraheem.
The young girl, only 16, made it to headlines earlier this year when she was accepted into Harvard University, making her one of the youngest students ever to attend that school.
Making a record in the US, Saheela was accepted at 13 other colleges, including prestigious MIT, the University of Pennsylvania, Cornell, Brown, Princeton, Columbia, and the University of Chicago.
In the end, Saheela chose Harvard, based on her seven-year-old brother’s advice who also dreams of being admitted to Harvard.
Saheela believes the key to success is knowing what you love to learn as early as possible, a knowledge she says she achieved at age five.
Known as polite and humble, the Muslim prodigy said that her Nigerian parents, totally supportive of the young scholar, sometimes taught her subjects the schools didn’t offer.
The teen is also interested in languages, and knows Yoruba, Arabic, Spanish, and Latin, in addition to English.
Offering a role model to her colleagues, Saheela, who dons the Islamic veil, or hijab, plays softball, soccer, and the trombone.
She also sings in the school choir and serves as president of the school’s investment club.
Her mother, Shakirat Ibraheem, said Saheela has been way ahead of the academic game since kindergarten — never cutting corners and trying to do everything on her own.
“She’s like always independent,” the teen’s mother said. “I never get to help with her homework because she’d say ‘it’s my work mommy, not yours.’”
The Harvard-bound teen speaks Arabic, Spanish and Latin. She said she hopes to become a research scientist and study the brain.
Ibraheem’s teachers at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School said their student was an old soul.
“I believe that she’s 15 years old, because I’m told that. But other than that I have a hard time,” Jim O’Halloran said.
In addition to academics, Ibraheem plays the trombone, softball and soccer. Despite her activities, Ibraheem said her number one priority was her family. Her 7-year-old brother Saleem was her biggest cheerleader when it came to picking a college.
“I was really psyched because she got into a great school and I wanted to go to Harvard, too,” her brother said.
As far as Ibraheem’s advice for her fellow aspiring students?
“Kids should try to listen to their parents most of the time. They know what they’re doing,” she said.
The promising girl plans to major in either neurobiology or neuroscience, and hopes to become a scientist in order to study how the brain works.
Despite her activities, she said her number one priority was her family.
“I try my best in everything I do,” Saheela said, confirming that there is nothing special about her brain.
“Anyone who’s motivated can work wonders.”