Profiles / Rising S.T.E.M. Stars

Saheela Ibraheem

15 Year-Old Rising STEM Star is Harvard-Bound

Saheela Ibraheem. Her name has been buzzing in the headlines lately as an encouraging promise of the future of STEM talent in this country. The fifteen year-old prodigy is wrapping up her final year of high school and beginning this fall, Saheela will be starting the new school year as a college freshman at Harvard University.

My Fox New York first broke the story in early May that the Piscataway, New Jersey teenager who achieved an almost perfect score on her SAT applied to fourteen different colleges, unsure if any would admit her at such a young age. She was accepted to thirteen schools, including six out of the seven Ivy League colleges to which she applied. After visiting its campus and falling in love with the student culture and educational opportunities there, Saheela and her family decided that Harvard was the best choice for her. When she starts in the fall, she will be one of the youngest members of Harvard’s student body.

Saheela’s academic career has been a rather interesting one. She has always had a certain passion for math and science. At her parents’ insistence, the Edison school system allowed Saheela to skip the sixth grade of junior high and later skip ninth grade as well. Concerned that the public school still did not pose enough of a challenge for her enough, Saheela’s parents moved her into Wardlaw-Hartridge, a private school in the Edison, New Jersey school district where Saheel abegan her high school career as a tenth grader. She is a hardworker, particularly inquisitive, and constantly pushes herself to succeed at higher and higher levels of excellence.

Saheela’s academic achievements did not keep her from being an active member of the student body at her high school either. She competed in several sports – soccer, swimming and softball – and sang in the choir. As well, she played trombone and served as president of her school’s investment club. Saheela also speaks Arabic, Spanish and Latin.

Saheela, the daughter of Nigerian-born immigrant parents, is following in the footsteps of her father, Sarafa, who attended the University of Ibadan, a prestigious Nigerian University. Mr. Ibraheem currently works as a financial analyst and C-level executive at a major financial group in New York. Saheela enjoys a very close-knit family unit and credits her parents and siblings with guiding her education for her entire academic career. She is committed to pursuing a STEM track in college and has plans to study neurobiology and contribute to her field as a researcher.

While she may miss the prom, Saheela seems unmoved and determined to meet the next set of challenges head on. Her mother, Shakirat Ibraheem, is confident that Saheela is ready for college life.

And Saheela echoes the sentiment. “It’s your life and it’s important that you take advantage of it,” Saheela says. “If it means going to college younger, that’s just the way life is for you.”