15-year old Nigerian girl picks Harvard among many choices! – saharareporters.com

May 6, 2011

The Diaspora

[Saheela Ibrahim had a crowded field of colleges – including top IVY League institutions – to choose from, usually not the type of “problem” faced by high school leavers.  Among those who want her as a student are MIT, Princeton, Columbia and others.  Read her heart-warming story from online Sahara Reporters.  She’s a pride to us all.]


EDISON, N.J. (CBS 2) — Many parents dream of their children going to Harvard one day. But one local resident has actualized the goal of getting into the prestigious university — at 15 years old!

Saheela Ibraheem, of Edison, was also accepted to MIT and 13 other schools, including Princeton and Columbia before settling on Harvard after falling in love with the campus.

Ibraheem skipped two grades and said the key to success is figuring out what you love to learn as early as possible — something she did at age 5.

“If you are passionate about what you do, and I am passionate about most of these things, especially with math and science, it will work out well,” Ibraheem told CBS 2′s Cindy Hsu.

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. [from Sahara Reporters]

 Congratulations, Saheela!

Submitted by tola adenle on May 6, 2011 – 14:03.

Generally always pkg stories from headlines, I wd have missed this story; was checking in before stopping for the wknd. Had to read twice in case I missed mention of Saheela’s origin: story of a 15-yr old picking & choosing from among Harvard, Princeton, MIT, etc that does not contain such US stereotypical markers like origin, race? This young lady’s advice of kids listening to their parents is commendable.  Congrats, Saheela and your parents. Thx, SR for bearing this good news. emotan.wordpress.com

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7 Comments on “15-year old Nigerian girl picks Harvard among many choices! – saharareporters.com”

  1. lilian Onwunali Says:

    There is no shortcut to success except through hardwork. We must work real hard to achieve success. Go girl!



    • emotan77 Says:

      Thanks, Ms. Onwunali. “Little” Ms. Saheela has continued to draw attention to her great achievements even one year after her story broke.

      Sincere regards,



  2. Ajipeya Afunleyin Says:

    The story of Saheela is a real affirmation of the saying in Yoruba that “omo ti yio ba je Asamu ati kekere ni ati se enu samu samu” i.e. In English ‘morning shows the day..’. A big congratulations to Saheela.



  3. Bob Says:

    Saheela ur awesome I wanna be just like you when I grow up!!!



    • emotan77 Says:

      I’m sure you’ll be there one day, Bob. Set your mind on it, work hard towards how to get there since I figure you must be a VERY young man, and other things will fall in place. And as a mother, I must remind you of Raheela’s advice to young people like her: listen to your parents MOST OF THE TIME. Tola.



  4. P Says:

    That is very good news. Congratulations Rahhela. Good luck.




  1. An open letter to Nigeria’s President Jonathan | - November 14, 2011

    […] on June 22, an essay whose readership has risen to top of readers’ list slightly ahead of http://emotanafricana.com/2011/05/06/15-year-old-nigerian-girl-picks-harvard-among-many-choices/.  Each has registered hundreds of […]


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