When you think about the city of Peshawar, what comes to your mind: capital of Khyber Pakhtoon Khwah, Khyber Pass, chappal kebab, Peshawari pulao … wait a minute! Now, don’t you start day dreaming about the mouth-watering Peshawari dishes, remain focussed on Peshawar. Does “Science” come to your mind by any chance? Or even cattle or a buffalo? Now, before you judge me as a completely convoluted person, know that I am talking about three very intelligent girls from Peshawar who have bagged the fourth position in the Intel Science and Engineering Fair 2012 (ISEF) held in Pittsburgh, USA, where there were roughly about 1500 students from about 70 countries across the globe. Mahnoor Hassan, Shiza Gulab and Bushra Shahed – all first year pre-medical students from Peshawar Institute of Management and Sciences - have won $5000 in prize money for their animal science project!
ISEF is a time-honoured science fair which has been going on since 1996. It is considered as the world’s largest forum which provides pre-college students a front to exhibit their innovative talents in the fields of science and engineering. Approximately seven million schools across the globe participate in this gigantic fair every year. Intel is an organisation which is dedicated to promoting scientific conscience, especially among the youth.
Dedicated in encouraging the pioneering spirit among youngsters; many corporate, professional, and governmental sponsors unite to present awards annually, now totalling over $4 million per year, to ISEF finalists.
This year, three projects from Pakistan made it to ISEF; other than the girls from Peshawar, Musa Rahim Khan from Chitral and Syed Shehbaz Hussain from Quetta went to represent Pakistan. Us talked to Mahnoor and Shiza about their experience at the ISEF.
To a stranger the title would seem strange i.e. “Energy Square for Cattle” but the creators were quite enthusiastic about their animal science project. Mahnoor told us how it all started. These students got inspired for this project by the floods which struck the rural areas of Pakistan a couple of years back. Due to the large amount of human loss most people never paid any heed to animals, especially the cattle which are a major food source for everyone; all of the cattle’s food stock such as hay got destroyed in the floods. So these students tried to make a food product for cattle and other farm animals such as sheep, goats and buffaloes, which would survive such disasters and not get expired very soon. Sheza Gulab acquainted us with what actually went into the making of this all nutritional food product. Most of the ingredients which went into this product are recyclable food items which are abundantly found in the waste of our country. Large amount of mulberry, a small portion of urea and various medicines also went into the making of this food which helped in killing harmful bacteria and insuring good physical health. In brewing up such a detailed biological experiment, these students were supervised by their teachers at ICMA Ambreen, Mohisina, Gulnaaz and Sonia. The efforts and hard work of these students and teachers got rewarded when Intel conducted conduct wide scale district level workshops for pre-college students in Peshawar. With 25 other tough competitors at the district level, the project of these three girls got huge appreciation from the organisers and they readily got accepted in the National competition. The national competition was held in Islamabad at AIOUS, and among 86 projects and 380 participants their project was awarded the first position.
When asked about the level of support they got from their families, Mahnoor and Sheza asserted that both their families were extremely proud and they had their full support throughout the event. Both the girls went to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to take part in the three-day international science fair. Mahnoor claimed to have learned heaps of stuff would help in her future projects. Our girls also got to interact with a diverse set of people and they were able present a positive picture of Pakistan. Some people were even astonished that these girls, belonging to Peshawar, were there in America participating in such an event.
It was an awesome experience for these bright young scientists from Peshawar, who did Us all proud in USA! Way to go, girls!