Rehab Azab, aspiring physician, benefits from Early College experience

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Portrait of Rehab Azab.

From a very early age, Henry Ford Early College (HFEC) alumna Rehab Azab has always been fascinated by medicine and helping people.

“Last summer, I volunteered at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. I was in the surgical lounge, where I would take patients’ families to pre-op and stock up on medical supplies for the staff. Being in this environment, calling the families’ names and having interactions with the families, was something I enjoyed. It widened my area of interest and cemented that this was something I wanted to do with my life,” explained Azab, of Dearborn.

HFEC vs. traditional high school

Born in Detroit, Azab is the second of seven children. Her older sister, Malak, is an HFEC alumna. Her younger brother, Yaseen, currently attends HFEC. In early May, Azab graduated from HFEC, earning an associate degree in general science. This fall, she plans to transfer to Wayne State University, where she will study biology. She aspires to go to medical school either at Wayne State or the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

HFEC is a partnership between HFC, the Dearborn Public Schools, and Henry Ford Health in coordination with the Wayne County Regional Educational Service Agency and the Michigan Board of Education. This 5-year program allows students to simultaneously complete high school and an associate degree and receive certification in an allied health profession. All of this is at no cost to families.

“I recommend enrolling in the HFEC because you get into a 5-year intensive program, where you’re able to complete an associate degree and a diploma with everything paid,” explained Azab. “It gives you a leg up ahead rather than attending a normal high school. It speeds up the timeline and makes the process go faster, allowing you to get ahead of the game.”

A tight-knit community

Azab was a member of the Henry Ford II Honors Program, Phi Theta Kappa: Alpha Xi Mu Chapter, and the Community Service Club. She was also the secretary of the Muslim Student Association and the vice president of the HFEC Debate Club.

“I’ve found HFC to be a very tight-knit community, where you get to know your peers and professors much better,” said Azab. “Having this scaled-down version of college allows you to get to know people. It’s like a preview of college if you go on to a 4-year school. Despite the rigor of the courses, the class size is manageable and allows you to interact with your peers.”

HFC English instructor Dr. Courtney Matthews served as Azab’s Honors Program mentor.

“We worked together on an independent study during the Winter 2024 semester,” said Matthews. “The focus was on dystopian literature, and she brought a fresh and unique perspective to her analysis of each of the works and also created potential present-day applications and solutions to some of the issues. This was all while completing a second directed study in the same semester with a science and lab focus. I know that Rehab will continue to excel in her premed studies, just as she excelled here at HFC and in the Honors Program.”

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