Mohammad Turaani is a national Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship semifinalist

Release Date
A headshot of Mohammad Turaani.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced that HFC student Mohammad Turaani is a semifinalist for its highly competitive national Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. The recipients will be announced by early May.

“It was a surprise that I had been selected as a semifinalist,” said Turaani, of Dearborn. “As I was moderating an event for the Muslim Student Association, I received the email that said I was selected. I was very excited. I was so happy. I was jumping up and down in the parking lot. It was absolute joy running through my brain. This is amazing.”

The Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship supports high-achieving community college students with a financial need to complete their undergraduate degree at a 4-year educational institution. This year’s 440 semifinalists were chosen from a pool of more than 1,200 applicants attending 180 community colleges in 35 states.

“The past year has been particularly difficult as students continued to navigate the complexities of hybrid learning, the demands of family care, and disrupted work schedules,” said Giuseppe “Seppy” Basili, executive director of the JKCF. “We are so proud of these semifinalists for their perseverance and achievements at their community colleges.”

“So many people have succeeded here at HFC”

A Palestinian born in Jordan, Turaani, who speaks fluent Arabic and English, is the second of five children and the eldest son. He attended high school overseas before immigrating to the United States in 2019. He enrolled at HFC due to its reputation, affordability, and hearing about his cousin Hazem Turaani speak fondly of his experiences at the College.

“So many people have succeeded here at HFC. My cousin went on to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor on a full-ride scholarship. He always says he wouldn’t have gotten it if he didn’t attend HFC,” said Turaani. “HFC is a great institution and a very good bridge to pursue your education. It has amazing resources, and you can really enjoy your time here.”

Turaani will graduate this spring, earning his associate degree in biology. He has not decided if he wants to pursue his bachelor’s degree in neuroscience/pre-med at Michigan State University or Wayne State University. His goal is to attend medical school and became a physician.

“As a child, I always knew I wanted to do something in medicine,” said Turaani. “I delved into biological sciences and discovered how complex we are. The higher functions of human beings and the complexity of organisms is jaw-dropping. Having the opportunity to understand it and being able to help people with skills learned in medical school is something that would make me feel very privileged. You can apply your knowledge anywhere and help people. For example, if a person collapses on an airplane and someone asks, ‘Is there a doctor here?’ I could help. Medicine is a wide field with a variety of options. There are new challenges every day. I would really love to take this career path.”

“I believe we are a mosaic of everyone we meet”

Turaani has been very involved at the College since starting his studies in 2020. Not only is he president of the MSA, he is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. One of the professors at HFC who has had a positive influence on him is biology instructor Magidah Alaudi.

“She was very helpful, absolutely amazing. She always went above and beyond for her students,” said Turaani. “I believe we are a mosaic of everyone we meet. At the end of the day, you may not remember everything your professors taught you in class, but you do remember the advice and mentoring they gave you. It’s the small moments that have the biggest impact.”

Alaudi enjoyed teaching Turaani. "Mohammad was one of the most passionate students that I have come across in a very long time," she said. "Although our sessions were synchronous online meetings for our BIO 131 lecture, Mohammad did not mind staying after the lecture to ask questions that expanded on the material we were working on, to seek advice for his academic progression, or to seek insight into graduate studies and research. His sense of curiosity and his passion for his studies is a definite sign of a great future ahead."

In 2021, Turaani completed the Entomology Research and Outreach Fellowship through the Department of Entomology at MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“That was an amazing experience,” he recalled. “The fellowship at MSU gave me wonderful insight and perspective on careers in science. It reinforced my interest in pursuing a scientific career path... not to mention its heavy contribution to my arsenal of academic and personal skills!”