Jerusalem—Twenty three select undergraduate science majors from Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women—including one from New Haven, CT—spent the summer in Israel participating in the sixth annual “Summer Science Research Internship” program, a joint initiative with Bar-Ilan University (BIU) that allows the students to gain hands-on experience in emerging scientific fields while being mentored by Israel’s top scientists.
The program ran from June 22 to August 9, and allowed students to conduct intensive research in Bar-Ilan’s state-of-the-art research laboratories under the guidance of top BIU faculty members, including those from the Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, the Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, the Mina and Everard Goodman Life Sciences Department and the Departments of Engineering, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science.
As in the past, the seven-week internship program was overseen by Prof. Ari Zivotofsky, associate professor in Bar-Ilan’s Interdisciplinary Brain Science Program.
“Our unique program gives talented U.S. university science students the opportunity to become embedded in a high-caliber Israeli university lab, thereby experiencing—rather than just hearing about—what it is like to live, learn and research in Israel,” said Prof. Zivotofsky.
“In the labs, they become part of a team and contribute to the ongoing projects. Spending their summer with a like-minded group of peers fosters an unparalleled commitment to research, Israeli science and religious Zionism.”
Based on the students’ interests and academic experience, Prof. Zivotofsky matched the students with mentors and research assignments that would promote individual growth and career development. While the focus was primarily on lab work, the program also included trips to scientific and industrial sites around the country, including Israel Aerospace Industries and the laboratories of the Agriculture Research Organization (Volcani Center), a series of lunch meetings with BIU faculty speakers and a day of archeological digging with the Tell es-Safi/Gath Archaeological Project.
“The YU-BIU program adds so much to the existing science and research education of our students, including the world-famous research base, the high-level mentorship and a strong peer group,” said Dr. Karen Bacon, the Mordecai D. Katz and Dr. Monique C. Katz Dean of the Undergraduate Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Yeshiva University. “It is also important to us that, as they grow, the students understand the special relationship that exists between scientific excellence and the religious values shared by both Yeshiva University and Bar-Ilan.”
In an effort to strike a Torah Umadda balance, the Yeshiva University students supplemented their daily lab work with nightly chavruta study and shiurim (lectures) at the Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem. The students also launched an initiative to maximize their travel time by learning Talmud on their way to and from their internships at BIU.
The BIU-YU Summer Science Research Internship Program is partially funded by the J. Samuel Harwit zt”l & Manya Harwit Aviv Charitable Trust of Los Angeles, as well as Dr. Mordecai D. Katz (’48 YUHS), Chairman Emeritus of the Bar-Ilan Global Board of Trustees, and his wife, Dr. Monique C. Katz (’63 E). The Katzes are YU Benefactors and have contributed generously to the University over the years. Most recently, they made a $25 million commitment to establish The Katz School of Graduate and Professional Studies, which will offer innovative online and in-class programming in such areas as marketing, allied health and community education, speech/language pathology, data science and cybersecurity.