Math and engineering have been a passion and a strength of Mehad’s for as long as she can remember. But it is the association of these things with her father that she most values. Her father, who had worked in the traffic department and as an accountant, inspired her love of math and engineering. Mehad’s father passed away when she was only eight years old, leaving her mother, older sister, and younger brother to live on his pension. Mehad’s mother now works as an employee in a supply office and is very supportive of Mehad — encouraging her to reach for her dreams.
Though only in primary school when her father passed away, it was at this point that Mehad committed herself to fulfilling both her dream and her father’s dream of her becoming an engineer. Studying in the math section of her high school in Kafr El Sheikh, a city in northern Egypt about an hour from Alexandria, Mehad exceled. She earned 97.3 percent on the Thanaweyya Amma high school leaving exam, ranking her third in her school and 17th in her governorate of over three million people. One of Mehad’s happiest memories is of that day — knowing she could study engineering in university and feeling the pride and joy from her family.
In addition to her regular schoolwork and studying for the Thanaweyya Amma, Mehad — always looking for an opportunity to develop herself — participated in the two-year-long English Access Microscholarship Program for disadvantaged high school students, which gave her additional English and personal development training. At the Access graduation, Mehad took the stage to read a poem composed by the group, in front of the U.S. ambassador, who was in attendance. She had participated in several poetry competitions in school and was known to be talented at reading poetry, but she was nonetheless intimidated.
One day…his brain started to breathe again
When he heard “just speak and no fears of mistakes”
It was an order from his inner peace
To take every day a piece
To fulfill his deeds
To feel his success
And to have his access.
As she read this last section out loud, and felt the applause afterwards, she knew that she could do anything.