Heba Abbud of Shefar’am began her studies at the Technion at the age of 16 because high school bored her.
In the middle of 9th grade, Heba Abbud approached her math teacher to inform him that she had finished learning all of the material for the five-unit matriculation exam. After confirming that this was indeed the case, her teacher obtained special approval from the Ministry of Education for Heba to take the 5-unit math and physics matriculation exams at the end of 9th grade. In 10th grade, she completed the remaining matriculation exams in an external studies program, scored a 738 on her psychometric exam, and began studying at the Technion – not in a Youth Science program, but as a regular student in the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering.
The Technion made no concessions in the acceptance process, but allowing her to begin her academic studies at such a young age (16) required special approvals, which Heba obtained with the personal help of Israel’s Minister of Education Naftali Bennett and Abdallah Hatib, Director of the Arab Sector Education. In a personal conversation, Mr. Bennett went so far as to call Heba “The next Einstein of Israel.”
Heba Abbud was born in Shefar’am in 2000 and studied at the El Oskofia Catholic school. When she was an eight grader, Heba was identified for outstanding capabilities by school Principal Farouk Farhud. In parallel to her junior high school and high school studies, she participated in Youth Science activities at the Technion and in the “Computational Science” Physics program at the Davidson Institute.
Even though her studies at the Technion aren’t overly difficult for her, after 7 consecutive years, she stopped learning ballet, because, she says, “the bottom line is that you have to put in many hours here.”
Last year, she was already awarded an “Excellence Award” by the president of the Technion, and this year, was accepted to the Excellence program at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering. The EMET Excellence Program (electronics, computers and communications) was designed to motivate excelling students to realize their capacities, to perform research during their undergraduate degree, and to nurture qualifications that will later service them in the academia and industry. Each student is accompanied by a personal advisor from the research staff and can, to a certain degree, tailor his/her own curriculum. In the framework of this program, Heba Abbud participates in the ongoing research in the laboratory of Associate Professor Shahar Kvatinsky. As far as she is concerned, the future is also in academia.