Teenager wins Harvard book award

Ayesha Karim with NCS principal Mouhssin Ismail. Picture: Arthur Communications

Ayesha Karim with NCS principal Mouhssin Ismail. Picture: Arthur Communications - Credit: Arthur Communications

A teenager has been named among a select group of students worldwide to win this year’s Harvard University book award.

Newham Collegiate Sixth Form (NCS) student Ayesha Karim, from Ilford, received her prize - the Stephen Pinker book Enlightenment Now - during a ceremony held at the East Ham sixth form.

The award is given to students applying for a place at the American university who excel academically and showcase good character.

The 17-year-old is hoping to follow in the footsteps of former NCS students Lennox Keeble, Catherine Lowe, Xuan Nguyen and Umar Azad who won £1m worth of scholarships to US universities this year.

Ayesha is currently studying A-levels in maths, further maths, chemistry and physics and has also applied for MIT and Cambridge as well as Harvard.

She said: “This is an incredibly prestigious prize to win, I feel completely honoured.

“Given I am competing with the brightest young minds across the globe this is quite an achievement.

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“I am very much looking forward to reading the book. Bill Gates described it as his new favourite book of all time which is quite the accolade.”

Ayesha isn’t the first student from the sixth form to win the award, either.

“I am very proud to keep the NCS tradition going of winning this award,” she said.

“It is now five years in a row student from this school has won. It goes to show the exceptional standard of student at this sixth form.”

Headteacher Mouhssin Ismail said: “Ayesha, like those before her, is an exceptional student. She is a deserving winner of this prestigious award.

“We continue to push the boundaries for what our students believe they can achieve at this sixth form.

“Getting four students into Ivy League universities is not the limit of our ambition, it is where it starts.”

He added: “What makes this sixth form exceptional is our consistency.

“It is now the fifth year in a row a student from this school has won this award. We do not rest, we strive for better every year.”