NEW JERSEY – A Nigerian Muslim girl, whose name has been buzzing in the headlines lately as a promising talent, has reserved a place among “The World’s 50 Smartest Teenagers” list.
“If you are passionate about what you do, and I am passionate about many things, especially math and science, it will work out well,” Saheela Ibraheem, who lived in Edison, New Jersey, was quoted as saying in The Best Schools website, which announced her title.
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.
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.”