Israel’s Leading Scientists Mentor YU Undergrads

Yeshiva University Students Take Part in Fifth Annual Summer Science Research Program at Bar-Ilan University

Twenty three select undergraduate science majors from Yeshiva College and Stern College for Women are currently in Israel participating in the fifth 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.

BIU Summer Program

During the seven-week internship program, students are conducting intensive research in the University’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, as well as the Departments of Engineering, Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science.

Dr. Ari Zivotofsky, a senior lecturer in Bar-Ilan’s Interdisciplinary Brain Science Program, is overseeing this year’s program, scheduled to run from June 22 – August 6.

“As always, the quality of the Yeshiva University students joining us this year is very impressive. Over the years, the students have integrated very well into our labs during their brief stay such that the Bar-Ilan faculty who have hosted them have been quite pleased,” said Zivotofsky.

“It is particularly impressive that women comprise the majority of this year’s group. This will allow us to drive home the message that observant Jewish women can thrive in the sciences in Israel, at the same level as their male counterparts.”

Based on the students’ applications to the program and their past academic work, Zivotofsky matched the students with mentors and research assignments that will promote individual growth and career development. While the focus is primarily on lab work, the program also includes trips to scientific and industrial sites around the country, including Israel Aerospace Industries and the laboratories of the Agriculture Research Organization (Volcani Center), as well as a series of lunch meeting with BIU faculty speakers.

“This unique internship program allows undergraduate students with a strong background in the sciences to experience the nurturing, interdisciplinary research environment and to develop their basic research skills,” said Dr. Harvey Babich, chair of the Department of Biology at Stern College for Women. “In addition, it increases the positive visibility of Israel and strengthens the very special bond between Yeshiva University and Bar-Ilan, encouraging faculty to pursue collaborative projects and visit each other’s campuses to share their research interests.”

To strike the proper Torah Umadda balance, the Yeshiva University students will supplement their daily lab work with nightly chavruta study and shiurim [lectures] at the Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute in Jerusalem. A truly exceptional and goal-oriented group, the students have also launched an initiative to maximize their travel time by learning Talmud on their way to and from their internships at BIU with the objective of finishing an entire Tractate by the end of the summer.

The program has benefited from the generosity of a number of donors to both YU and BIU.  Prominent among them is Dr. Mordecai D. Katz, chairman of the Bar-Ilan Global Board of Trustees, who has been an ardent supporter of the program since its inception, and the Harwit Charitable Trust of Los Angeles.