For Erika Stiel, 17, who flew up from Boca Raton, Fl., with her mother, there was the need to imagine and experience what college life might be like on an urban campus.
And for Penina Braffman, a 17-year-old senior from Philadelphia, it brought home her desire for a higher education that combines academic excellence with moral purpose.
Helping answer their questions—as well as the queries of hundreds of other prospective undergraduates and their parents—was the central theme of Stern College for Women’s Sunday Open House. They converged on Sunday, Nov. 9 on Yeshiva University’s Midtown Campus where they met with President Richard M. Joel; Karen Bacon, Monique C. Katz Dean of Stern; Charles Snow, dean of the Sy Syms School of Business, faculty; and administration.
In one-on-one sessions, high school seniors explored the array of liberal arts, science, and business programs offered at both schools. They took time out to learn about career, corporate, and graduate school placement assistance, along with information on academic, scholarship, and honors programs.
“We were very surprised and impressed with what we saw,” said Ellen J. Braffman, 47, mother of Penina Braffman, and an education specialist. She was joined by her doctor-husband Michael, 48, of the University of Pennsylvania. The Braffmans talked of their daughter’s desire to experience the rich diversity and vitality of a New York City campus, but in a setting that respects her religious needs and academic interests.
What mattered more, she said, was Stern’s emphasis not only on what “you learn but how you apply it. They [the university] seem to have elevated their mission to another level.”
Echoing that view was the younger Braffman, who was assessing Stern’s English-communications curriculum and liked what she saw and heard. “You really get the total package here, plus flexibility to shape your major,” she said.
The hour-long trip on the Manhattan-bound Q train was a homecoming of sorts for Brachie Krausz, whose father, Joshua Krausz, is a Sy Syms professor. Even so, she and her mother, Milly, 50, stressed the importance of getting an overall perspective of Stern’s pre-law discipline. “Yeshiva University is a known entity because of my husband’s and my own experience,” said Ms. Krausz, a ’75 Stern graduate. “But choosing a college is very personal because your child is in effect creating a second home, with new friends and experiences, and you want to get it right,” she said.
“The Open House simply reaffirmed most of the things that made Stern my first choice,” said Brachie Krausz, who stressed the college’s reputation for small class-size and close interaction between student and professor.
Assuring a vibrant Torah atmosphere, together with insightful Israel study, was a focal point for Erika Stiel, who has strong family roots in New York. She had moved to Florida with her parents as an infant, and saw attending Stern as a chance to reconnect with a rich tradition. “There’s a strong comfort level here,” said Ms. Stiel. “I feel I can be part of something special, without compromising my academic and career needs,” she said.