A graduate is foregoing college to participate in a fellowship in which she will receive $100,000 over a two-year period to help the developing world.
“I was excited that it was a unique opportunity, and I would be able to do a lot of things I wouldn’t be able to do in college,” said Noor Siddiqui, 18.
Siddiqui, who lives in Clifton, heard about the Thiel Fellowship online. The fellowship was founded in 2010 and awards 20 people under 20 years old cash grants of $100,000 to further their innovative scientific and technical ideas, according to the Thiel foundation’s website. It was founded by venture capitalist Peter Thiel, whose notable investments include PayPal and Facebook.
For her proposal, Siddiqui will be looking into ways to connect the developed world to the developing world.
“I will be looking at ways to solve that problem, and I’ll be doing a lot of talking to people involved in that arena,” Siddiqui said. “I traveled to Pakistan a few years ago, and seeing the poverty and hunger attracted me to this project specifically.”
Much of the grant money will go toward meeting with people who know about developing world issues, attending conferences and possibly funding a project.
“I’m definitely not going to be indulging much. I’m excited about the funding because it gives me freedom to work on the project,” Siddiqui said.
Though her parents were apprehensive about her postponing college for a few years, they were ultimately supportive of the fellowship, Siddiqui said.
“I’m excited about the unbridled freedom,” Siddiqui said. “Being so young, I have an incredible array of opportunities in front of me. ... I’m excited about learning a lot and learning fast.”