Eli Abboud, a Mercy Gift Shop volunteer and senior at Jackson High School, believes in the power of positive human interaction. He considers it not only fun, but also a great way to live life. Eli plans to take this philosophy and his experience to a new level this fall as a business and economics major, thanks to a TimkenSteel scholarship.
Jackson High School Senior Eli Abboud, a regular volunteer in the Mercy Gift Shop since last July, recently received TimkenSteel's top college scholarship of $20,000 per year for four years. These scholarships, which range in amount, are open to the children of TimkenSteel employees; Eli's father is Nathan Abboud, a TimkenSteel unit manager of process improvement. His mother is a dietitian at Western Community Hospital.
Eli earns high honors academically and plans to attend college this fall to major in political science, public policy and economics. Yet, beyond classroom work, he devotes much of his spare time to serving area children and adults, which he describes as both fun and a great way to live life. He also believes learning how to interact with all kinds of people is the key to success with his future goals in business, economics, and—someday—politics.
"I've always like to be involved in my community and interact with people," Eli says. "That's part of the reason I chose to volunteer at the Mercy Gift Shop. It's been a good place to talk with people who usually are in the shop because of something positive, such as buying a gift for a friend or someone who just had a baby. They tend to be optimistic."
Encouraging Young Students in STEM Careers
Eli also volunteers at Open Waters Math and Science Center, a non-profit that helps late elementary and middle-school students who perform well in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects to apply their knowledge in real-world applications. From dissections, eletrical networking and physics experiments to presentations from STEM professionals like engineers and brain surgeons, Open Waters encourages students to develop a passion for math, science and STEM careers. The program is open to students from all area districts and is offered free of charge. About 30 are currently enrolled.
Together with four other area high school students, Eli helps manage Open Waters. He says, "I was inspired by the student who originally started the program. His ability to motivate the kids about STEM projects and career opportunities was impressive. Today we run Open Waters with the help of a dozen volunteers and Stark State College. Everything is focused on the children and their success."
An Eye Toward the Future in Politics
At Jackson High School, Eli is CEO of the business club, founded a history club, and has participated on the speech and debate team. He also holds a black belt in martial arts.
Last year Eli was selected for the American Legion Buckeye Boys State, an eight-day program that gives about 1,200 high school boys hands-on experience in the operation of the state government. From among those attendees, Eli was chosen for a similar experience at the federal level as one of only two students to represent Ohio for the prestigious American Legion Boys Nation, held in Washington, D.C. Similar programs are offered for girls, as well.
"Because of Boys State and Boys Nation, I am definitely considering a career in public service, probably later in life," says Eli. "Many politicians, both Democrat and Republican, have come from the program, including Bill Clinton and Chris Christie. For a few days, I was immersed in the life of politicians, and contrary to popular belief, I felt these men and women were passionate about their work and really do care about serving the communities they represent."