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Release Date: 
Friday, January 14, 2011

Making the grade!

These days, college entails a great more than just academic study for new students. Many must juggle part and full-time positions, family demands, volunteer opportunities and academic responsibilities simultaneously, which can be a daunting task.

And while achieving outstanding grades at an exceptional institution of higher education will help students net career opportunities their parents could only dream of when they were students, this is only one part of the equation in terms of what companies seek in newly hired professionals. 

Well-rounded, gifted individuals who have the intelligence and humility to make an impact on the corporate bottom line and help serve their community often comprise some of the best employees for organizations. The HFCC Honors Program works to develop the academic talents of students and support their efforts to support their community.

Recently, the Honors Program nominated freshmen Neam Alazawi and Batool Saad of Dearborn for the prestigious national All-USA Today Community College Academic Scholarship Competition. This prestigious award is conferred upon students through the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, an organization that provides opportunities for the development of leadership and service among other efforts ( Through this competition, 20 students throughout the U.S. earn selection to the national team, receive a $2,500 stipend and medallion. Additionally, USA Today newspaper features student winners of this prestigious award and are presented at Phi Theta Kappa's President's Breakfast held during the Annual Convention of the American Association of Community Colleges Convention (AACC) April 11, 2011, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

For Dr. Nabeel Abraham, director of HFCC's HFCC Honors Program, the nomination of Alazawi and Saad comes as no great surprise.

'These are two remarkable young women who are exceptional representatives of HFCC and our nomination for this honor,' he said.

Alazawi, who is a Biology major, holds a 4.0 grade point average (GPA) and has served as a peer mentor at HFCC since August 2010. Her family moved to the U.S. from Iraq two years ago. In addition to volunteering at HFCC, she is a refugee assistant for the Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS), a member of the Arab American Women's Business Council and a volunteer for the Boys and Girls Club of Southeastern Michigan. She also helps her younger siblings with their school work and attends their parent-teacher conferences along with her parents to help her parents communicate more comfortably in English with teachers.

'My newness to the country inspired me to attend a community college where I can develop advanced skills in composition, speech and independent research before transferring to a university,' she explained. 'When I graduated from high school, I felt that community college could help me with the transition to a university. I chose HFCC to give me time for cultural adaptation before expanding my education further. Another attraction was HFCC's Honors Program, which is academically challenging and structured with faculty mentors. This program gave me a chance to meet people with the same aspirations and goals as me while also helping me find transfer opportunities and scholarships,' she added.

Saad, who also hails from Dearborn and holds a 4.0 GPA, is also a peer mentor for the College. She also served as captain for her Relay for Life Team in 2010 and volunteered for the Make A Difference Day 2010 and at the civic gala for the Lebanese International Business Council in 2010. She is also founder and president of the HFCC Amnesty International Campus Group and a columnist for the HFCC student newspaper Mirror News.

According to Saad, her intentions were to attend a large university in Michigan. She indeed received acceptance into several major universities, but found HFCC to be more affordable, closer to home and full of opportunities that could help her achieve more in her future. 

'When a letter from the Honors Program at HFCC arrived in the mail, I applied. When I learned of all the opportunities and scholarships that come with being in the Honors Program, I decided that my choice had been made for me. I am always going home and telling my family about all the unbelievable things that have happened to me while attending HFCC, which allows me to measure up to my two older sisters who have received scholarships to a university,' she said.

For both of these HFCC students, their future goals are within reach. After her transition from HFCC and graduation from a university with her bachelor's degree, Alazawi hopes to attend a graduate school where she can pursue her dream of becoming a physician.

Saad also holds some lofty expectations of herself following graduation from HFCC. Her plans include attending a four-year institution to earn her undergraduate degree and then entering law school, with the hopes of becoming an international humanitarian lawyer. 

To learn more about the HFCC Honors Program, please visit, or contact Dr. Nabeel Abraham at 313-845-6460, or via email at