Scholars Recognized at Global Innovation Challenge

This year, Marium Khan, daughter of NED alumnus Nusrat Hussain Khan, put together a team of five Muslim students from the Irving community in Texas to participate in, and eventually win, a global innovation challenge held annually at NASA.

With the help of their mentor, Mirza Faizan, Marium Khan and her other team-mates, Shafaat Ahsen, Bilaal Hassan, Bilal Nouiouat and Hibaa Thayyil participated in The Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge as "Team Ilm."

The Challenge is an annual multi-phase innovation and entrepreneurial competition that engages students in all 50 states and 72+ countries to create unique and viable solutions that benefit humanity in one of the four areas: aerospace & aviation, cyber technology and security, energy & environment, and health & nutrition. Founded by Nancy Conrad in honor of her late husband, astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr, the Conrad Challenge is sponsored by NASA, SpaceX and other well-known companies.

These students spent numerous days together, developing their innovation: a wristband called DStress that measures a person's stress through the cortisol levels in their sweat and is connected to a mobile app that helps the user manage their stress, like their own personal therapist.  This product not only aims to help the millions of people worldwide who feel stressed, but also hopes to save the lives of those who suffer from diseases where stress plays a hidden role. 

After seven months of competing in their category, health & nutrition, against 53 other teams from all over the world, Team Ilm advanced as Summit Diplomats and were invited to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida to pitch their product!  They then competed with the remaining 28 teams, and after four intense days, won the most prestigious title of "The 2016 Pete Conrad Scholars."

Not only have they won a global competition, but now they'll also receive aid from the Conrad Foundation to advance their product and ultimately release it to the public!  "It was the most phenomenal experience; full of hard work, numerous meetings, challenges, surprises, and most importantly, amazing teamwork! We are thankful to our friends, families, and especially to our mentor, Mirza Faizan, who taught us the valuable skills of innovation and professionalism. We are grateful to Allah that we were able to represent Muslims in a more positive light and create something that could benefit humanity!" - Team Ilm


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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