Science unites local, Pakistani students at SUNY Poly CNSE

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The universal language of science and math is uniting a group of teens from Pakistan with American students.

“Even though we’re on other sides of the world, we can learn the same thing,” American student Jonathan Foldi said. “It’s pretty cool.”

Foldi was partnered with 16-year-old Hammad Rahim from Pakistan for a hands-on science project. They built robots using Legos, which helped to build their friendship along the way.

“To know we both played with Legos when we were kids even though we never met each other is pretty cool,” Foldi said.

“Great opportunity for us,” Rahim said. “This will help us later in life.”

Rahim’s passion is education. He will be a junior at the Army Public School and College in Peshawar, Pakistan and wants to study engineering.

But that passion came under fire when his school was the scene of one of the deadliest attacks since 9/11. More than 140 teachers and students were killed.

“They’ve been through something truly horrible,” SUNY POLY CNSE Asst. VP for student affairs Diana Dumesnil said. “It’s something their American peers couldn’t understand.”

Rahim survived the attack. With support and funding from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad, 12 teenagers and their teachers embarked on a cultural and educational exchange.

“They know a lot about the U.S.,” Army Public School and College Chemistry teacher Tehmina Hasan said. “They usually watch all the movies.”

Their journey started in Washington, D.C. with meeting Secretary of State John Kerry.

“He was hobbling on the crutches, but when he saw us, he started dancing,” Rahim said.

But eventually their trip led them to a classroom with four American students for a week long set of science classes at the Nanotech complex in Albany.

But it’s what they’re doing in between classes that are keeping many of them entertained.

“Yes, they’re teaching them cricket, and they’re learning some baseball, which they’ve never learned before,” Hasan said.

And though the national sports along with languages may be different, the language of math and science remains universal.

“We consider ourselves very, very lucky that we are learning so much about science,” Hasan said.

It’s all putting the wheels I motion for a better understanding of one another.

The group of Pakistani students will travel to Cooperstown this weekend and then travel back to Peshawar.

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