High School: Morgantown High School
Plans after graduation: Halabe's goal is to become a materials/chemical engineer. She plans to earn bachelor's and master's degrees in materials/chemical engineering. Halabe wants to develop greener, sustainable technology, be a part of the movement toward cleaner energy and pursue research in composites and advanced materials.
For many high school students, balancing extra-curricular and community activities, along with basic schoolwork, can sometimes be an overwhelming and daunting task.
For Morgantown High School senior Esha Halabe, the art of balancing is a well-run oiled machine.
What is behind such a well-run machine? According to Halabe, it's her personal motivation and drive.
"I put pressure on myself," she said.
Not only is it her personal motivation that propels Halabe forward toward success, but also the support and encouragement of her parents, she said.
Halabe's achievements both in the school community and beyond it, are numerous.
"I understand the importance of being involved in my school community," she said. "I've challenged myself with rigorous coursework over the last four years."
As a sophomore, Halabe completed coursework in AP human geography and AP statistics, scoring a five on each exam. During her junior year, she completed coursework in four advance placement courses: AP calculus AB, AP chemistry, AP English language and AP physics, scoring either a four or five on each exam. Halabe is a semifinalist in the 2014 National Merit Scholarship Program and has been selected by the College Board as an AP Scholar with Distinction.
Recently, she founded and became president of the Morgantown High School Future Problem Solving Club. Future Problem consists of individual and team competitions. Participants are given a futuristic problem, with two hours to find a solution and write a proposal. For the individual competition, students are required to write a short story about a futuristic topic needing a solution.
Because Future Problem Solving competes internationally, Halabe procured a $1,000 grant from Mylan Pharmaceuticals to defray the costs of international competition.
Halabe said she has been participating in Future Problem Solving competitions since middle school. Within Future Problem Solving, Halabe received first place in state team competition in 2010, 2011 and 2013. In 2013, she also received eighth place in international team competition. She received first place in state individual competition in 2010 and 2012 and thirteenth place in international individual competition in 2012.
"Through Future Problem Solving, I've developed a love for successful problem solving," Halabe said. "My interest and devotion to this field has led me to intensive summer camps like the AwesomeMath Summer Program at Cornell University."
Halabe also demonstrates leadership through serving as president of the Morgantown High School National Honor Society and chair of the Monongalia General Hospital's Annual Health Fair Committee.
"I take great pride in my leadership role," she said.
Halabe has also been treasurer of the Student Council and helped coordinate both the WCLG Food Drive and Mohigan Idol — a competition that generates proceeds donated to the West Virginia University Children's Hospital.
She also gives back to others and the community through tutoring middle school children, cooking meals at hospitals and gathering care packages for U.S. soldiers.
"By volunteering at local Morgantown-area hospitals and organizing and participating in local outreach programs to aid the disadvantaged, I've volunteered over 375 hours in my community," Halabe said. "My commitments are not only well-rounded but also indicative of my devotion to others."
In the summer of 2013 for eight weeks, Halabe interned for the NASA Independent Verification and Validation Facility, completing preliminary fault management database mapping for the Spacecraft Element of the James Webb Space Telescope and identifying complete faults, failures and mitigations for further investigation and mission critical requirements. At the conclusion of her internship, Halabe presented her work to NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., including NASA administrator, Charles F. Bolden Jr.
What draws Halabe to the math and sciences?
"For 17 years, I've been shaped by a family of engineers," she said. "I've learned about the structural challenges facing old timber railroad bridges in West Virginia and the fiber reinforced polymer wraps that prolong their service lives. The use of advanced composite materials in civil engineering has been ingrained in my mind."
Growing up immersed in concepts of composites, Halabe said she gravitated toward the fields of materials/chemical engineering.
"The idea that new, advanced materials could prevent bridges from degrading fascinated me," she said. "This fascination has grown to encompass other areas that impact society — energy, electronics and green technology — all interlinked with chemical engineering. I want to manipulate materials' chemical structures to fix what is broken, improve what isn't broken and create new solutions."
What about college and beyond?
"I'm drawn to the entrepreneurial spirit of engineering," Halabe said. "With programs in entrepreneurship, I aim to develop a solid business foundation in the engineering design process before I enter the workforce. With cooperative education and internships, I want to gain hands-on engineering practice while working towards my engineering degrees.
"I'd like to bring my passion for science, mathematics and problem-solving to the engineering field and with a career in materials/chemical engineering, I hope to help build a better, brighter future."