Valedictorians Reflect on YU Experience

Nine Undergraduates Recognized for Exceptional Academic Achievements

On May 25, hundreds of students from Yeshiva University’s undergraduate schools will receive their degrees at YU’s 85th Commencement at the Theater at Madison Square Gardenin New York City. Nine students will be honored as valedictorians for their outstanding academic achievements: Alex Abraham, Irving I. Stone Beit Midrash Program; Yaacov Chein, Isaac Breuer College; Yosef Frenkel, Yeshiva College; Sima Gold, Josh Honig and Jacob Meir, Sy Syms School of Business; Elianne Neuman, Stern College for Women and Rebecca Ivry Department of Jewish Studies; Jonah Steinmetz, Yeshiva Program/Mazer School of Talmudic Studies; and Joshua Wildes, James Striar School of General Jewish Studies.

Standing: Jonah Steinmetz, Alex Abraham, Sima Gold, Elianne Neuman and Josh Honig. Seated: Josh Wildes, Yosef Frenkel, Yaacov Chein and Jacob Meir.
Standing: Jonah Steinmetz, Alex Abraham, Sima Gold, Elianne Neuman and Josh Honig. Seated: Josh Wildes, Yosef Frenkel, Yaacov Chein and Jacob Meir.

As these accomplished graduates ready themselves for the next stage of their lives, several took time to reflect upon how YU’s vibrant Jewish life and rich academic and extracurricular experiences shaped their undergraduate years.

“My favorite part of my Yeshiva University experience was getting to know all of the other students within my major, most of whom have become my closest friends,” said Gold, who majored in accounting and minored in information and decision sciences. “The small class sizes empowered me to ask questions and become an active participant in my education, and I never felt lost in the crowd.”

Gold, of Elizabeth, New Jersey, was a member of the Sy Syms School of Business Honors Program and Beta Gamma Sigma’s international business honors society. She also served as the managing editor of the 2016 YU yearbook, tutored her peers and worked at the Student Organization of Yeshiva Seforim Sale for three years.

“One of the things I loved the most about my time at YU was the warm and collaborative atmosphere among the students here,” said Frenkel, a biology major and speech and drama minor from Riverdale, New York. “I was also constantly impressed by the range of opportunities I had to pursue my interests in areas such as scientific research, theater and technology.”

While at YU, Frenkel was an active member of the Yeshiva College Dramatics Society, and served as the vice president and technical director of Macslive, the official broadcast network of Yeshiva athletics. He will pursue a medical degree at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the fall.

“One of my favorite things about the undergraduate experience at Yeshiva University was the opportunity it provided me to learn from others—both my professors and my peers. The professors at Stern College for Women are not only experts in their respective fields, but are also eager to build connections with their students and help them reach their fullest potential,” said Neuman, who double majored in History and Jewish studies. “The small class sizes at Stern also facilitate student participation and discussion, thereby encouraging students to interact with and learn from each other.”

Neuman, from Toronto, was very active on campus throughout her college career. In addition to serving as editor-in-chief of Chronos, the history journal of YU, and assistant editor of Kol Hamevaser, the Jewish thought publication of the student body, Neuman was also the chief administrative officer of College EDge Inc., a student-founded non-profit organization devoted to preparing underrepresented high school students for post-secondary education. She also served as the national director of communications for Music Vs, another YU student-founded organization that utilizes music and the arts to foster inter-generational conversation and community. She will pursue a master’s degree in modern Jewish history at YU’s Bernard Revel Graduate School of Jewish Studies.

Abraham, a computer science major from Teaneck, New Jersey, said, “One of the things I loved most about YU was the ability to continue my Jewish studies throughout my college experience. YU provided me with a strong and structured Torah education that has prepared me to continue my Torah study in the future.”

Meir, an accounting major and finance minor from Hollywood, Florida, was a member of the YU Investment Banking Society and a dedicated student-athlete, playing on both the baseball and tennis teams. This summer, he will jumpstart his professional career at Bank of America, where he is enrolled in the Finance Management Associate Program.

“Yeshiva University provided a warm familial atmosphere at all times. Whenever I needed a helping hand, there was always someone there to help me, no matter the circumstances,” said Meir. “And outside the classroom, I always found myself surrounded by friends. I am really going to miss my YU family.”