HFEC student Hassan Berry aspires to start an architectural engineering firm

Release Date
Hassan Berry wearing a black button-down shirt in front of a pale blue background.

Being a student in the Henry Ford Early College (HFEC) has been a transformative experience for Hassan Berry.

“HFEC offered me the unique opportunity of being able to blend my high school education with my college education,” said Berry.

HFEC is a combined high school and college partnership between HFC, the Dearborn Public Schools, and Henry Ford Health in coordination with Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency and the State Board of Education.

HFEC is a five-year program that allows students to simultaneously complete high school and earn a college degree. Beginning in the ninth grade, the program is offered at no cost to the student. Graduates earn their diploma from HFEC and an associate degree from HFC.

“As a whole, HFC has allowed me to really focus on my passions,” said Berry. “It has allowed me to change paths on a dime and let me explore various classes, particularly architecture.”

HFC architecture classes fulfill a dream of creating the world he admires

The second of three children and the eldest son, Berry was born in Detroit and lives in Dearborn. His older sister, Yasmeen, is an HFEC alumna and is in her first year at the Wayne State University School of Medicine. His younger brother, Ali, is a senior in the HFEC.

In 2024, Berry will earn his diploma from HFEC and his associate degree in architecture and construction management from HFC. Afterward, he will transfer to the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor to pursue a bachelor’s degree in architecture and a master’s degree in architectural engineering.

“I have always wanted to work with my hands professionally,” said Berry. “I enjoy the complexities of our world. I am curious about the ingenuity that goes into its design. This deep fascination has pushed me to want to replicate it. The architecture classes at HFC showcased for me a field I enjoy. It fulfilled a dream of creating the world that I so admire.”

A leadership role in the Battery Workforce Challenge

Berry is the president of the HFC Engineering Club. He is also the student coordinator and hardware lead on the Battery Workforce Challenge, a 3-year student collaboration between the HFC Pre-Engineering Program and the University of Michigan-Dearborn College of Engineering & Computer Science.

“As the hardware lead, essentially, my team and I will be designing the physical enclosure of the battery pack. Although we’re still in the early stages. HFC will build and design the physical aspects of the battery,” explained Berry. “As the student coordinator, I work with the fellow project leads to make sure everyone at HFC who is participating in the challenge is successful with their assignments and is delivering on time. The biggest challenge working with UM-Dearborn is ensure we’re all on the same page. My job is to take the information from the UM-Dearborn team and coordinate with the members of the HFC team. I will be involved with this project after graduation and will remain as the hardware lead.”

Friendly, innovation-focused environment for Engineering Club

Berry has been a member of the Engineering Club for two years. In the 2023-24 academic year, he has served as the president.

“I had a lot of ideas for how the club room could be improved in terms of design and layout. There needed to be more open space. The previous president, Lea Zaytoun, had advised me if I’m having all these ideas then I should run for president, seeing that I had the club’s best interests in mind and would be a good fit for this role,” he recalled.

Berry wants the Club to continue thriving and growing after he graduates from HFC. Berry has proposed two ongoing projects, which will continue indefinitely.

The first is designing a small-scale electric vehicle. This is open to people who have been members for more than a semester. They will build the vehicle’s chassis.

“They’ll have to write a proposal for this project that is safe and feasible,” he said. “They must plan, lead, and carry out this project, which also allows them to push themselves and instills in them the confidence they need to do this kind of work.”

The second is giving the newer members the opportunity to work on a smaller-scale project of a remote-controlled car.

HFC Pre-Engineering Director Dr. Hassan Mohseni Nameghi, who is also the Engineering Club’s faculty advisor, has had many opportunities to work with Berry.

“We are grateful for having a young leader who influenced many students to follow their passions and work on realistic projects,” said Nameghi. “As the president of the Engineering Club, he’s created a friendly club environment that fosters collaboration and innovation.”

Confidence to exceed his own expectations

Berry considers Nameghi and HFC Chair of Building Sciences Chad Richert his mentors in their respective fields.

“Dr. Nameghi has had a major influence on me throughout my academic career at HFC,” said Berry. “He has my best interests in mind. He has never pushed me to any one route academically, but he’s instead opened doors and held them open for me and given me the confidence to walk through them. He instilled in me the confidence to do so much more than I thought I could. I’ve completed projects that I never thought I could do in the past because of him.”

Richert has been Berry’s liaison into the field of architecture.

“He’s shown me how to use certain tools and understand certain concepts, but he’s also introduced me to an extremely different way of thinking. As architects, we have to keep in mind that our work goes beyond the printed page. What we determine determines the work for hundreds or thousands of people following our initial blueprints. We have to ensure our work is something that cannot only be achieved structurally but achieved financially too,” explained Berry.

Richert enjoyed working with Berry this semester.

“Hassan is a really energetic student. He’s engaged in the class and brought the energy level of the entire class up a notch,” said Richert. “I think he is a great example of how positive the Early College can be. When he took classes at HFC, he wasn’t really sure what his future plans were. He took a lot of different classes in a lot of different areas and discovered that he really likes the architecture and construction world. When students like Hassan come into these programs and put the effort in, it is really a great thing to give them a head start in their careers.”

Student success is not just talk

Berry’s goal is to open his own architectural firm that handles both the engineering and commercial design aspects of architecture.

“HFC has pushed me toward architecture. I see my classes more as hobbies when I go into the architecture lab. It’s a fulfilling moment when I’m doing something I really love; it’s something to be grateful for,” said Berry. “HFC has taken this broad idea of what I want to do with my future and enabled me to drive straight toward the path that will give me the most joy and success.”

He continued: “As an HFEC student, I am an HFC student. I have full access to HFC resources and am a member of the HFC community. This community fosters creativity by helping each other grow and succeed. Everyone wants everyone else to succeed and reach their goals. We help each other get there. That’s something I really admire about this College.”