Following a family fascination with science
MARSHFIELD Muhammad Raza always knew science was something that excited him growing up.

Having been raised in a science-oriented household certainly helped — his father is a physician and two older siblings are going into health-related fields — but it was a sophomore science research class which solidified that love in his brain.

Muhammad spent a semester working with Dr. Edward Belongia, an epidemiologist at the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation, studying transmission rates for E. coli on four different cutting board surfaces commonly found in kitchens across the United States.
Muhammad Raza

Age: 18
Residence: Marshfield
School: Marshfield High School
Parents: Dr. Qasim and Rosy Raza
College Plans: Attend a four-year research university, eventually attending medical school.
Hobbies: When not participating in numerous academic clubs, Muhammad can be found slinging lattes at the Starbucks in Target on North Central Avenue.

“It was a semester-long research seminar project that I presented at the end of the year,” Muhammad said. “It was extremely interesting to do that, and I was very motivated by the class, and all the skills that I learned that built off of one another.”

The 18-year-old Marshfield High School senior hasn’t decided which university he plans to attend. He’s had a lifelong dream of attending Rice University in Houston, and his decision likely will be based upon not only how large the university’s research program is, but the amount of opportunities afforded to undergraduates to contribute to research projects.

Since entering high school, Muhammad has “exhausted” all the science courses he could take, to the point he’s now taking physics. Even though it’s a science class, it’s not the type of science he prefers.

“I’m more of a chemistry and biology type of person. I feel if you’re into physics you have a completely differently wired brain,” he said. “There’s challenging, and then there’s something beyond that, that I just can’t grasp.

“We have a huge science program (at Marshfield), with a wide array of classes that all have compounded on each other. It’s always been the most interesting part of my education,” Muhammad said. “Being at Marshfield has been great, and I consider myself very fortunate.”

But just because he’s been eating up as many science courses as possible doesn’t result in a lack of appreciation for the arts.

“I love the whole ceramics program (the school) has going on over here,” he said.

Amy Fasler has had Muhammad in numerous science classes and served as the faculty adviser for the Science Olympiad team, of which Muhammad is a member. She said it’s been exciting to see him grow as a student.

“Most of the classes he’s been in, he’s been very academically ahead of his peers. He’s taken a lot of advanced science coursework early as an underclassman,” Fasler said. “It’s been really fun watching him evolve and develop into a really confident, self-assured man.”

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