Meet 2017 Graduating Senior Ayah El Habbal
At the 2017 commencement, Marymount graduating senior Ayah El Habbal was presented the 2017 Esprit Award. To receive this recognition, Ayah demonstrated outstanding leadership skills, engaged in service to others, and demonstrated the embodiment of the ideals of a liberal arts education. She also received high marks in her coursework.
Marymount Professor Valerie Anderson, who taught and mentored Ayah in her capstone project, said, “Ayah was an academic leader as she prepared for her capstone presentation. She was a standout student because of her enthusiasm for research, her academic aptitude, and her positive personality. When she conducted her taste test as part of her capstone research, her lovely personality was an asset as she interacted with the tasters. It is really her combination of high scholarly ability and an exceptional personality that makes her very special.”
In an interview with Ayah, she gave us a look into her MCU experience.
When did you begin at MCU?
I began my studies at MCU in the fall of 2013. I was only 16 years old.
Why did you choose to attend MCU?
I graduated high school two years earlier than my classmates. Marymount was the perfect fit for me. The university provides personalized learning and promotes the growth of the whole person. I have also appreciated the one-on-one interaction with professors, mentoring and advising, and the supportive friendly learning environment. MCU is also one of the few schools whose mission and core values were religiously based. The university supports spiritual growth for everyone regardless of one’s religious background.
What did you study? What stands out as most important in your MCU experience?
I received a Liberal Arts degree with a BA in Biomedical Sciences, with minor in Behavioral Sciences. I am who I am because of my experience here at MCU and because of my interaction with many individuals who helped me throughout my journey – and that includes the shuttle drivers and the president of the university. MCU is one big family. Being an MCU student was a big blessing and I am so thankful for everyone who helped me along the way.
The opportunity to study abroad at Jacobs University in Germany with Professor David Draper and a group of other MCU students was a life-changing experience. Studying abroad helped me grow intellectually and broaden my thinking, for I now see things in life in a very different way.
What are your career goals? Will you be working or going to grad school after graduation?
My career goals include attending medical school. This summer I will take the Princeton MCAT review course. I am planning to attend USC Keck School of Medicine to complete my Masters in Global Medicine.
During my second year at MCU, I began my own business, Grab A Date, a homemade gourmet date enterprise. I hope one day to open a sustainable date shop where I would sell date goods and date-seed coffee.