Julia Abouelheiga. Courtesy photo.

Julia Abouelheiga. Courtesy photo.

Class president reflects on time as International Community School student

International Community School grad looks to make a difference in cyber security

It was a big honor asking her senior class of 2018 to do one last thing — turn their tassels from right to left.

“It was definitely a surreal day,” said Julia Abouelheiga, the president of her 2018 class, of the school’s graduation ceremony on June 19. “It was really fun to be able to see all these people come together to celebrate everyone.”

Abouelheiga reflected on all she accomplished during her academic career.

As an ICS student, she was involved in a variety of extracurricular activities, including being the president of her mock trial club, president and founder of the Technology Student Associations club, a member of the Gender Sexuality Alliance (GSA), a member of the Author’s Society, a member of the Science National Honors Society and a member of the National Honors Society.

“The clubs that I was a part of definitely made my high school experience worth it,” Abouelheiga said. “Especially the leadership opportunities that I got.”

Abouelheiga’s favorite extracurricular experience came from her time on the mock trial club, which competed against teams from across Washington. According to Abouelheiga, the club required students, like herself, to collectively take on a fake case at the beginning of the year. This case required the club to come up with legal arguments throughout the year and conduct a fake trial where people acted as attorneys and/or witnesses in competition against other schools.

“It’s the only real team experience I’ve ever had,” Abouelheiga said. “Learning how to both be a part of that as a member and to manage that was definitely a huge learning experience and something that I’m super grateful for.”

Abouelheiga was a part of the mock trial club for all four years of her high school career during which she was an attorney for four years, on the executive council for two years and the president for one year.

One of Abouelheiga’s most memorable accomplishments came from her time as the president of the mock trial club during her senior year at ICS. Under her presidency, the mock trial club ended up going to state where they earned fifth place, which was tied for the highest that the club had ever placed at the state level.

“I love the club so much,” Abouelheiga said. “That was a really important thing for me to see that success.”

Abouelheiga emphasized that having a strong support system from her family and friends throughout her time at ICS really helped play an integral role in her success as a student and who she is as a person today.

Abouelheiga’s older sister also had the opportunity to experience ICS. Abouelheiga said that being able to watch her sister go through the process at ICS really helped her prepare for and make the most out of her own ICS experience.

“I had a good time at ICS. I learned a lot,” Abouelheiga said. “I definitely think that’s gonna take me far in college.”

Abouelheiga plans on attending Northeastern University in the fall where she plans to study a combined degree of cyber security and cognitive psychology. Abouelheiga chose Northeastern because of the academic scholarships that she got from the university and because she really liked the university’s academic flexibility.

“I wanted to be somewhere where I could study cyber security,” Abouelheiga said. “Not that many universities offer it as a major.”

Abouelheiga said that she’s always had a passion for cyber security, but really wanted to add another element to look at the human side of things, which made cognitive psychology a great fit. Abouelheiga hopes that this combined knowledge and experience will provide her with many opportunities down the road.

“I’m definitely at least looking for a master’s degree,” Abouelheiga said. “I really want to go into entrepreneurship.”

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