STEM Careers Project

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Pakistani Students Won Silver and Bronze Medals in the International Science Olympiads -2008


Islamabad, July 30, 2008: Teams of talented students selected by the STEM Careers Project, represented Pakistan in the 19th International Biology Olympiad, 39th in India, International Physics Olympiad in Vietnam and 40th International Chemistry Olympiad in Hungary. Pakistani students couldn’t participate this year in the International Mathematic Olympiad in Spain due to delay in visa.


 These teams were led by Dr Safdar Ali Mirza of NIBGE & Al Hasanat Rasul of STEM Careers Project, Drs Shahid Qamar & Masroor Ikram of PIEAS and Drs Khalid M Khan & M Shaiq Ali of HEJ, Karachi University. These annual International Olympiads provide pre-university science students from around the world an opportunity to compete in solving challenging theoretical and experimental science problems that only the most talented youth of their age can answer. The dedication and hard work of members of the STEM Careers Project, HEC and the Home Institutions in selecting and preparing these students paid dividends when the following talented students won medals and awards during these Olympiads bringing name and fame for themselves and their country:


Name of Student

Award Won

Name & Place Olympiad Held

College Name

Muhammad Affawn Ashraf

Silver Medal

IBO-2008, (Biology), India

Bahria College Karachi

Mr. Hamza Aftab

Silver Medal

IPhO-2008 (Physics), Vietnam

Aitcheson College, The Mall , Lahore

Ms. Madiha Hussain

Bronze Medal

IPhO-2008 (Physics), Vietnam

Lahore Grammar School, 136-E Phase - 1,D.H.A. Lahore

Syed Waqas Raza

Honorable Mention

IPhO-2008 (Physics), Vietnam

Lahore Grammar School For Boys, Johar Town, Lahore

Mr. Ahmed Bilal Asghar

Honorable Mention

IPhO-2008 (Physics), Vietnam

Cadet College, Hassan Abdal, Attock

Madiha Hussain, the first female Pakistani bronze medalist got fully funded scholarship for her studies at Caltech, and Hamza Aftab and Waqas Raza got fully funded scholarship for their studies at Princeton. Affawn Ashraf has been selected for his studies at LUMS in its newly launched School of Science and Engineering.


A total of 220 students representing 55 countries participated in IBO and 376 students representing 82 countries participated in IPhO. This is the first time that Pakistani students won silver medals in these Science Olympiads. Earlier they have been winning bronze medals and honorable mentions.  Most of these students invariably get scholarship for their higher studies in leading universities of the world such as Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, Caltech and Oxford. STEM Careers Project, HEC is very proud of their achievements and would like to congratulate all the winning students, their schools/colleges and their parents for this singular achievement. It is also grateful to all the resource persons and the numerous NSTC alumni in helping identify, motivate and groom these students.


The process of selection of these students commences in September each year with posting an announcement on STEM Careers Project website, publishing advertisement in major national dailies and sending introductory packages to about 800 colleges throughout the country. This is followed by a screening test, usually held on the first Sunday of the New Year,  in eight major cities all over the country for more than 5000 applicants, who must have scored 70 % or more marks in their SSC or O-level exams. Fifty of the top scorers in each subject of NSTC are selected on the basis of their performance in the Screening Test. Further grooming and screening through a series of training camps at the Home Institute of each subject leads to the selection of 4-6 member student teams for the Olympiad.


 STEM Careers Project is a joint venture of the Higher Education Commission and Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission for grooming talented youth of the nation for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics, or STEM Careers. Beside organizing annual National Science Talent Contest (NSTC) for selecting and grooming talented students in collaboration with Home Institutions of NIBGE, HEJ, SMS and PIEAS for participation in International Science Olympiads in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics STEM Career Project also organizes annual National Engineering Competitions in collaboration with NUST and GIKI .


STEM Careers Project will be launching the 6th National Science Talent Contest (NSTC-6) for talented 1st Year F.Sc/A-Level students in September 2008. For more information please visit the project website at, write or call STEM office, HEC, H-9, Islamabad at (051)-9040705.



Muhammad Affawn Ashraf, the first silver medalist of Pakistan in International Biology Olympiad. He was born in Sialkot and is a Hafiz-e-Quran. He plans to pursue fundamental research in Genetics, Immunology and Hematology that could help and also to find cure for Diabetics and AIDS and aspires to win Nobel Prize.


Mr. Hamza Aftab, the first silver medalist of Pakistan in International Physics Olympiad. He was born in Multan and secured 11 A’s with world distinct during his O-level. He plans to study basic sciences, engineering in Princeton University, USA on a fully funded scholarship from there.

Left: Madiha Hussain, first female Pakistani Bronze Medalist in International Physics Olympiad. She a fully funded scholarship admission in Caltech, USA.