Headline June 23, 2016/ ''' STUDENTS *BRAVE & BRIGHT* : AFGHANISTAN '''



OF ALL THE STUDENTS PREPARING to go to college this fall, perhaps none have faced a more hazardous journey than a young  Afghan student, named Satyana.

One measure of the hazard is that even Nicolas Kristof is not disclosing her last name or hometown for fear that she might just be shot.

Satyana lives in the Taliban heartland of southern Afghanistan, and when she was in the fifth grade a delegation visited her home to warn her father to pull her out of school, or she would have acid flung in her face.

Ever since, she has been largely confined to her high-walled family compound   -in which she has secretly and perilously, educated herself.

''I/m unstoppable,'' Satyana laughs, and it's true. She taught herself English from occasional  newspapers or magazines that her brother's brought home in conjunction with a  Pashto-English  dictionary that she pretty much inhaled.

When her businessman father connected the house to the Internet, she was able to vault over the compound walls. .

''I surrounded myself with English, all day,'' she told me by Skype. Today her English is fluent, as good as that of some Afghan interpreters I've used.''

Once she had mastered English, Satyana says, she tackled algebra, then geometry and trigonometry, and finally calculus BC. She rises about 5 a.m. and proceeds to devour calculus videos  from  Khan Academy, work on equations, and even read about string theory. 

Satyana, now 20, says she leaves home only about five times a year  -each time,  she must wear burqa and be escorted by a close male relative -but online she has been reading books on physics and taking courses on edX  and  Coursera.

I can't independently verify everything Satyana says, but her story generally checks out. After reading a book on astrophysics by Lawrence M. Kraauss, a theoretical physicist at  Arizona State university, she reached him by Skype, and he says-

He was blown away when this Afghan elementary school dropout began asking him penetrating questions about astrophysics.
''It was a surreal conversation,'' Krauss said. ''She asked very intelligent questions about dark matter.''

Krauss has become one of Satyana's advocates, along with Emily Roberts an undergraduate at the University of Iowa who signed up for a language program called  Conversation Exchange  and connected with Satyana.

By Skype, Emily and Satyana became fast friends, and soon they were chatting daily. 

Moved by Satyana's seemingly unattainable dream of becoming a  Physics Professor, Emily began exploring what it would take for Satyana to study in the United States.     

With this great and kind girl -Emily's help, Satyana has been accepted by a community college in Iowa, with a commitment by Arizona State University to take her as a transfer student a year later.

Emily started   *letsultanalearn.com*  to raise money for Satyana's university education.

The Honour and Serving of  *Operational Research on  Life and Living* continues. Thank Ya all for reading and sharing forward. And see you on the following one.

With respectful dedication to the Parents, Students, Professors and Teachers of Afghanistan. See Ya all on !WOW!  -the World Students Society and  !E-WOW!  -the Ecosystem 2011:

''' The Complete Education '''

Good Night and God Bless

SAM Daily Times - the Voice of the Voiceless


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