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Meet Fall 2021 Engineering Valedictorian Justin Daher

Justin Daher named Summa Cum Laude, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from Cleveland State University, Washkewicz College of Engineering. The ceremony takes place on Sunday, December 12, 2021 at the Wolstein Center.

Meet Justin

Justin Daher’s CSU experience was anything but ordinary. Having gained earned college credits at Mayfield High School, Daher entered as a sophomore only to be thrown a curve ball. During spring break of 2019, he had a heart attack-like episode and was diagnosed with myocarditis—inflammation of the heart. Hospitalized for weeks and quarantined for more thereafter, he completed his semester from home with straight A’s while undergoing many procedures. An interning doctor’s ultrasound of Daher’s heart later identified a life-threatening diagnosis requiring open heart surgery. He returned to CSU in the fall of 2021 and still managed to graduate in three years.

A benevolent family-first person, Daher cared for his younger sibling during his tenure, inspiring them to follow in his (and the family’s) footsteps by attending CSU as well. Powered by deep curiosity, Daher calls his invention-dedicated research endeavors “informal,” but he landed on a “geothermal dehumidifier” to harvest clean water from humid air. “The Daher Drywell” became his senior design project. Now in the patent process, Daher hopes those struggling to find fresh water worldwide will be able to put a low-cost version of the invention to good use. Daher was also behind the student-based petition initiative to get a “Pass/Fail” grading system implemented for CSU’s remote learning during the COVID-19 quarantine. He was inspired by a witnessing a friend’s deteriorating mental health during the pandemic. Proud member of the Math Club, Robotics Club and an honorary member of Baja SAE during his time at CSU, Daher is now employed at MAGNET as Operational Excellence Consultant.

“My journey was rough and intimidating, but I am very proud of what I was able to accomplish in such a short period of time, with such daunting circumstances,” said Daher. “I’d like to thank everyone for considering me for this honor. I was not aware that being a candidate was a possibility for me. I am greatly humbled.”

Cleveland State University: Can you tell us about the moment you decided to move forward with CSU – your “yes, this is the college for me” moment, if you will?

Justin Daher: CSU was the only college I intended on attending since early in my high school career. By going to CSU, I was able to stay financially successful as well as remain close to my family to uphold my responsibilities at home. My dad, older brothers and sister also went to CSU as well as my little sister who is still attending, at this point I think you can consider it a pseudo-tradition.

CSU: What made you go into your major(s)? Were there any defining moments or inspirations that led you on that path?

JD: I was always told I was smart and that I would pick a “smart career” since I was young. When I was in elementary school, I wanted to be a doctor, then I found out how much longer you must stay in school to do that, so I gracefully bailed on that idea. During middle school, I learned rudimentary craftsmanship skills, basic repairs and woodworking, which made people around me tell me I should be an engineer. I was good at math and science, had good special reasoning skills, and I also can’t spell, so I fit all the criteria. In high school, I was in an engineering program called CADD Engineering Technologies at Mayfield High School. That’s when I decided to be a mechanical engineer, rather than any other engineer because I would be able to get out of a year of school by doing so, and I’m all about efficiency.

Above is just a snippet of Daher’s inspring story as posted by University Marketing. Read complete article here.