Some parts of Hussein “Shawn” El-Souri’s story of giving back are easy to quantify. Three or four: That’s the number of days he spends tutoring every week, whether that be as a Near Peer coach at a community center in Westland, where he teaches coding classes to middle and high school students; or helping young Detroiters who have dropped out of high school. In fact, the latter effort yielded another impressive number—three. That’s how many people at Covenant House East who recently earned their GEDs, in part because of El-Souri’s help with their math classes.
But those who know him say the computer engineering student offers more than just his expertise in science and math to those around him. He also brings the power of his own story—a biography that has already taken him from his birthplace in Detroit, to an upbringing in Lebanon, and back again.
“He articulates his experience and how he overcame challenges to be able to study in the U.S.,” said Rayna Anderson, who has witnessed El-Souri’s work in the Near Peer mentoring program, run by the Office of Extended Learning and Outreach. “His home country was struggling as he grew up, which did not create an ideal learning environment. But Shawn persevered with the support of his family, and he wanted to be provide that support to another learner.”
El-Souri may have natural instincts as a teacher, but don't look for him to veer from his plan to pursue a career in computer engineering—ideally, he said, with a big player like Google or Microsoft.
“They are companies that have goals, principles and ambitions that I agree with,” El-Souri said. “But, honestly, anything that lies within my field of study would be amazing. I feel very fortunate that it’s something I love doing.”