Growing up in conflict-ridden Tbilisi, Georgia, a child of a physicist and a music teacher, Kitaevich, a senior at Yeshiva University’s Stern College for Women, would conquer every scholastic obstacle she encountered.
At the age of 13 she won several academic competitions, at both the national and European levels, earning a scholarship to study abroad at an American high school. By the time she was 16 she had completed her high school coursework and enrolled at Stern College. And now, just 20 years old, Kitaevich is the first student in the University’s history to earn the prestigious Carnegie Fellowship—awarded to just a handful of students from a pool of over 700 selected applicants representing close to 400 colleges.
Kitaevich, a double major in international relations and economics and an accomplished pianist, hopes to pursue a PhD in political science and ultimately “have an impact on foreign policy and international order.”
“Aside from all her capabilities and talents, what stands out in Jane is that she knows HOW to learn,” said Dr. Ruth Bevan, David W. Petegorsky Professor of Political Science. “Learning depends upon knowing oneself and being receptive to changes in oneself that occur through the process of learning. Learning constitutes an act of personal courage and bravery — an exposure of the self to the unknown, to the challenging, to the seemingly insoluble. Jane has demonstrated such courage and bravery. I have no doubts that she has only begun to tred her life’s pathway to personal growth and success.”
Kitaevich credited Bevan with encouraging and supporting her every step of the way. “Dr. Ruth Bevan has been my biggest influence,” said Kitaevich. “She pushed me to work hard and made herself available to me at all hours of the day. She is a paradigm of a true professor.”
Ari Lamm, a Yeshiva College senior, has had a love for studying Talmud ever since he opened a Gemara for the first time. Recently awarded a Fulbright grant—another first for a YU undergraduate—he will spend the upcoming year pursuing an M.A. in Hebrew and Judaic Studies at University College London.
“I’ve always loved learning Talmud,” said the West Hempstead, New York native. “I like the idea that this complements what I have learned in the morning [shiur].”
Both credit the faculty at YU for instilling them with their passion and proper motivation.
Lamm claims it was Dr. Yaakov Elman’s course on History of Talmudic Literature that got him “hooked on the field.”
“I’ve had amazing professors at YU, but Dr. Elman is a treasure,” said Lamm. “This is a subject that has been taking the Jewish world by storm and YU is on the cutting edge of Jewish scholarship.”
“Aside from his intelligence and creativity, Ari has an even rarer quality: leadership,” said Dr. Elman. “He will succeed at whatever field he undertakes.”
The two also share the distinction of being part of a select group of Kressel Scholars—a scholarship established in 2008 to enrich and perpetuate YU’s student research community.
Lamm, Jewish Studies and History major, will examine the historical context of the Babylonian Talmud during the Persian Empire and hopes to eventually land in either academia, law, the rabbinate or possibly, all three.