Engineering all the possibilities

Name: Haefa (pronounced HAY-fah) Mansour
Major: Engineering
Year: Freshman
Hometown: Mentor, Ohio

In demand: Haefa had her pick. Berkeley and MIT accepted her, too. Big Boilermaker hugs, Haefa!

Don’t fence me in: “I decided to go with engineering—either chemical or biological—because people told me that it’s a really good basis for a variety of careers,” Haefa says. Among her many options: medicine. And she’s done her homework. She says that medical schools want students who know “scientific thought processes,” not just students with pre-med degrees. “It might be painting yourself into a corner to get a pre-med degree, I think.”

Outside her comfort zone, by choice: In 7th grade, Haefa was shy. She conquered it by volunteering at a nursing home. “Back then, I wasn’t good at connecting with people who weren’t like me.” After about 350 hours of volunteering, she says, “Going through experiences that were so different from mine taught me how to communicate with people and show compassion.”

Bring it on: Haefa’s up for leadership, even though she’ll have plenty of classwork to keep her busy. “I was thinking of possibly taking a student government position,” she says. Eventually, she could see herself as student body vice president or president.

Positively charged: If it’s about attitude, it’s in the bag. “I’m a really optimistic person,” Haefa says. “You can’t control your circumstances; you can only control how you react to them. I think that kind of attitude is really important to have throughout your entire life—a hopeful, optimistic attitude.”

By Amy Raley