At 17, young scientist to represent borough

Rahman lives with his parents and siblings in Parkchester. His Intel project explores the effects of shear stress on cancerous cells. Photo courtesy of Mishal Rahman

Mishal Rahman understands shear stress and melanoma migration. Mishal Rahman considers himself a citizen of the world. Mishal Rahman likes to knit and bake cakes. Mishal Rahman is only 17.

Intel recently named Rahman a Science Talent Search 2009 semi-finalist, one of only 300 high school students to receive that honor.

Rahman, a senior at Bronx High School of Science, lives with his parents and siblings in Parkchester. He was the school’s only Bronxite semifinalist this year. Five other Bronx Science students were chosen – three from Queens and two from Manhattan.

Rahman’s Intel project explores the effects of shear stress on cancerous cells and blood vessel walls. The Science Talent Search is America’s oldest and most prestigious research competition for high school seniors. Westinghouse first sponsored competition in 1942.

“I enjoy research,” Rahman said. “I want to do more in college. I don’t need an award to feel accomplished.”

Rahman, whose family emigrated from Bangladesh in 1999, has applied to CUNY’s Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education and to MIT. His father is a taxi operator, his mother a science teacher at CS 102.

“We left Bangladesh for the traditional reasons,” Rahman said. “For opportunity, the American Dream. We moved to NYC in September. The first time I saw snow, I was very excited.”

Rahman volunteers at a City College laboratory. John Tarbell, a professor, and Henry Qazi, a PhD student, are his mentors.

“I’m not sure whether I want to become a medical doctor or a biomedical engineer,” Rahman said.

A fan of the Science Channel – his family recently purchased a satellite dish – Rahman heads the Bronx Science Latin club. On May 20th, he’ll host a major Latin competition.

Rahman attended MS 127 and hopes to teach science someday. He wishes more Bronx students would pursue science. After college, he plans to return to the borough. If Rahman commanded unlimited resources, he’d research cancer proteins and a viral cure.

“Mishal loves to argue,” said Richard Lee, a Bronx Science biology teacher. “Which is a good sign. The best scientists argue. Mishal is diligent, ambitious and thoughtful. He has grit.”

Each semifinalist received a $1,000 check. Bronx Science received $6,000.

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