William Floyd High School senior Farihah Chowdhury has achieved a perfect score – a 36 – on the ACT, a standardized test consisting of English, mathematics, reading and science used for college admissions. According to the ACT organization, less than three-tenths of one percent of students who took the ACT exam earned a perfect score. For the graduating class of 2019, only 4,879 out of nearly 1.8 million graduates achieved this academic feat. The average score nationwide is 20.7. This places Chowdhury in the top 0.03% of students who took the ACT.
“Farihah is the epitome of an all-around student,” said Arianna Scanlon, Farihah’s guidance counselor. “Her academic skills are some of the best that I have seen throughout my time as a school counselor. She currently takes our most difficult coursework offered, while finding time to immerse herself in her local community and numerous clubs and extracurricular activities.”
Throughout her high school career, Chowdhury has challenged herself with 14 Advanced Placement courses and 13 Honors/Accelerated courses, and with that challenging course load, she has flourished in nearly every area. She is currently ranked among the top of her class.
In science, she has been part of the science research program throughout her high school career. She has won multiple awards at various science research competitions including the Long Island Science and Engineering Fair and the Long Island Science Congress. One of the main focuses of her award-winning research was analyzing the pathogens present within lone star ticks. She has had the opportunity to conduct research at the Brookhaven National Laboratory National Synchrotron Lightsource and had her research published in multiple publications. She is also part of the Science Honors Program at Columbia University.
Chowdhury is a four-year member of the National Honor Society currently serving as its president; is a four-year member of student government; a four-year member of Youth & Government; a four-year member of the varsity swim team (two-year captain); a three-year member of the Business Honor Society currently serving as its president; Mock Trial, Future Business Leaders of America, the Science Honor Society and the Tri-M Music Honor Society – she plays the violin, and had a stint as a member of the Chamber Orchestra in 10th grade.
In addition to all of that, she has had time to work with Girls Inc., an organization designed to embolden and power girls and young women, volunteer at Stony Brook University Hospital and earn her Girl Scout Gold Award by building an outdoor garden space at her former pre-school, Bay Area Head Start in Shirley. As part of this project, she created a lesson plan on plants and the environment. She described this experience as “heartwarming” as it gave her the opportunity to introduce the youngsters to ideas that they did not know about and are relevant to their futures. “Seeing their faces light up was absolutely amazing.”
This is also not the first perfect score Chowdhury has achieved, she scored an 800 on her Math Level II SAT in December 2017 as a sophomore. She also scored a 1550 out of a possible 1600 on her SAT.
In a letter to Chowdhury recognizing this exceptional achievement, ACT CEO Marten Roorda stated, “Your achievement on the ACT is significant and rare. Your exceptional scores will provide any college or university with ample evidence of your readiness for the academic rigors that lie ahead.”
As a first-generation American, Chowdhury credits her parents who emigrated out of Bangladesh in 1990 as an inspiration for her success. “They worked extremely hard to make a living for themselves,” Chowdhury said, who described her mother in particular as working low-wage jobs to save up and pay for college to pave a way for a higher-earning career. “My mother’s story might seem like many immigrants who have come here, but the drive that she depicts and her will to do anything she can to better the lives of her family is unique and has inspired me to better myself.” Chowdhury’s brother, Shadman, is a graduate of William Floyd High School, Class of 2015, and is currently serving in the United States Air Force.
Chowdhury describes getting a perfect score on the ACT as her proudest academic achievement and discovering herself and her path in high school as her proudest personal achievement. “The freedom of high school allowed me to explore all of my interests and pursue anything my heart desired, and that was key in the process of figuring out the topics I wanted to study in college and potential career paths,” she said.
For now, Chowdhury is mum on her top college choices, but she plans on studying neuroscience and becoming a medical doctor. “The brain is so complex, and there are so many components that control so many different processes,” she said. “There is still so much to learn about the brain, and I want to be able to contribute to that research and make an impact on society that way.” She has also shown interest in computer science and coding. Taking AP Computer Science as a junior, has instilled in her that coding is a great skill to have and will benefit her in the future.
Chowdhury attended William Floyd schools throughout her academic career K-12, first at Nathaniel Woodhull Elementary School, then William Floyd Middle School and now William Floyd High School.