Success Stories in STEAM: Imon Rahaman ’16

“I can remember studying college material as early as junior year, so a lot of the advanced curriculum I experienced at Massachusetts Institute of Technology was familiar to me from high school,” said Imon Rahaman ’16, on how his Friends Select education prepared him for the intensity of MIT’s bioengineering program. A founding member of Friends Select’s nationally-ranked QuizBowl team, Imon describes himself as an attentive student who enjoys exploring beyond his class syllabi and textbooks. His interests in advanced sciences even prompted the creation of a new course. “I asked my advisor, [upper school chemistry teacher] Heather Paul, if we could learn Organic Chemistry and she challenged me to develop the course,” Imon recalled. “I had just as much fun trying to set up the class as I did taking it. I appreciated Friends Select teachers’ willingness to allow students to have a say in the academic program.”

Imon and his peers also inspired the creation of upper school math teacher Ralph Reinwald’s Linear Algebra class, a course not previously offered at Friends Select. “I don’t know why Linear Algebra isn’t taught universally in high school because it’s a foundational class and very important in higher level STEM fields,” Imon explained. “I encountered the subject again at MIT and was already comfortable with the concepts. That’s all thanks to Ralph.” Imon estimates that he took every class taught by Ralph—many of them rare, high-level courses even by university standards. “I probably took the most math classes of anyone in my grade because Ralph encouraged my love for the subject. I really appreciate the connection I had with him; we would often spend lunch together, just talking about math.”
    
Imon is currently in a gap year after his graduation from MIT in 2020. While doing research and pursuing medical school, he is also working at a free clinic to provide legal assistance and help low-income communities access public benefits. He considers Friends Select’s Quaker roots as an influence on his career. “I really enjoy the element of service and helping my community,” he said. “I look forward to a medical career that’s a combination of science and research with the human aspects of service, compassion, and empathy for others.”
    
While Imon feels Friends Select prepared him for both his advanced studies at MIT and what lies ahead in medical school, what he values most in his experience wasn’t found in a textbook or course curriculum. “My Friends Select teachers were supportive and gave me the confidence to aim high,” he said. “I would not have gone to MIT or be where I am today if my teachers hadn’t helped me discover what I was capable of doing. I’m really grateful for Friends Select and appreciate my experience more as I get older. It has been very impactful and I don’t take it for granted.”