It was a decade ago and Maria Shenouda was a small child at the time, but the memories are seared into her mind. While walking the streets of her neighborhood in Egypt, she saw families in need.
“A lot of people didn’t have the opportunity to get their children good healthcare,” Maria says. “Every day I would see families struggling to help their kids when they were sick.”
That was when she decided to become a doctor.
Transferring toward a head start
When she was eight, Maria’s family immigrated to the United States. She knew the move would give her the opportunities she needed to reach her career goal, but the transition was difficult.
“I didn’t know the language, so I had to stay in school with an English teacher and a translator to learn,” she says.
Once Maria mastered the English language – and four others since – her grades skyrocketed.
The North Ridgeville High School senior graduated one year early with a 3.9 GPA and is making her dream of becoming a physician a reality. She attributes Lorain County Community College’s College Credit Plus program for the head start.
“When I found out about LCCC’s College Credit Plus, I went to my guidance counselor and told her I wanted to do this,” Maria says. “I want to be a doctor, so I am taking every opportunity I can to be a young doctor.”
Maria earned more than 50 college credits while in high school and transferred them to Baldwin Wallace this fall. She’s working toward her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry with a minor in Biology. She expects to graduate from BW a year early and after that she’ll start applying to medical schools.
“LCCC has helped me get a head start on my education by saving me about two years from my bachelor’s degree while in high school,” Maria says. “And it’s opening up many opportunities.”
Already making an impact on those in need
While Maria is years away from being a practicing physician, she’s already using her education, skill and compassion to make an impact. Through one of her courses, Maria learned more about different socioeconomic classes and the impact of living in poverty. When the pandemic hit, she wanted to help.
“LCCC organized a group to make masks for people who might not have any,” she says. “I saw it as an opportunity to give back to my community.”
Helping those in need reminded Maria of her home in Egypt where neighbors help neighbors. She hopes to travel back there one day to care for – as doctor – those families she saw as a child.
“I want go back and to travel the world, bringing healthcare to those who can’t afford it,” Maria says.