Israel's Leading Scientists at Bar-Ilan University Mentor US Undergrads

Summer Science Program Strengthens Israeli-Us Bonds While Providing Students With Hands-On Lab Experience

Ramat Gan and Jerusalem, Israel — August 2015
US undergraduate science majors are participating through early August in the fifth annual Summer Science Research Internship Program, a joint Bar-Ilan University (BIU)/Yeshiva University (YU) initiative. The Program, which this year includes students from YU, Cornell, Touro, and Queens College, enables participants to gain hands-on experience in emerging scientific fields while being mentored by some of Israel's finest scientists.

The 2015 'Summer Science Research Internship' program group on the Bar-Ilan campus. (Credit: Faith Baginsky)
The 2015 'Summer Science Research Internship' program group on the Bar-Ilan campus.
(Credit: Faith Baginsky)

Ariella Levie, a Stern College for Women student from Teaneck, is spending her summer working in Prof. Haim Cohen's lab to research a gene that may improve longevity for humans. (Credit: Aviva Cantor)
Ariella Levie, a Stern College for Women student from Teaneck, is spending her summer working in Prof. Haim Cohen's lab to research a gene that may improve longevity for humans. (Credit: Aviva Cantor)

Intensive Internships in Bar-Ilan's Advanced Science Research Labs

During the seven-week research experience, students are conducting intensive internships in the University's research laboratories with faculty members from the Bar-Ilan Institute for Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, Gonda (Goldschmied) Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center, Faculty of Engineering, Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences, and the Departments of Mathematics, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science.

Prof. Ari Zivotofsky, in Bar-Ilan's Interdisciplinary Brain Sciences Program, is overseeing this year's program. He said, "As always, the quality of students from Yeshiva University and other schools that are with 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."

"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," added Prof. Zivotofsky.

Promoting Individual Growth and Career Development

Matthew Feinstein, a YU physics major from Philadelphia, is working in Prof. Yaakov Tischler’s lab to make a type of organic laser.
Matthew Feinstein, a YU physics major from Philadelphia, is working in Prof. Yaakov Tischler’s lab to make a type of organic laser.

Based on the students' applications to the program and their past academic work, Prof. Zivotofsky matched students with mentors and research assignments that would both enhance their summer experience and 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 IAI (Israel Aerospace Industries) and the laboratories of the Agriculture Research Organization (Volcani Center), as well as a series of lunch meetings with BIU faculty speakers.

"This unique internship program allows undergraduate students with a strong background in the sciences to experience a nurturing, interdisciplinary research environment and to develop their basic research skills. 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," explained Professor Harvey Babich, Chair of the Department of Biology at Stern College for Women.

Yael Steinberg, a Stern College student majoring in Biochemistry and Political Science, says, “The combination of science, fun and Torah makes this program work really well in a location that can’t be beat.” This Queens, NY native is working with Prof. Aharon Gedanken, Director of the Kanbar Laboratory for Nanomaterials at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology and Advanced Materials, on clean-tech research.
Yael Steinberg, a Stern College student majoring in Biochemistry and Political Science, says, “The combination of science, fun and Torah makes this program work really well in a location that can’t be beat.” This Queens, NY native is working with Prof. Aharon Gedanken, Director of the Kanbar Laboratory for Nanomaterials at the Bar-Ilan Institute of Nanotechnology & Advanced Materials, on clean-tech research.

Science and Jewish Values

To strike the proper "Torah U'Madda" balance, students will supplement their daily lab work with nightly chavruta study and shiurim at the Caroline and Joseph S. Gruss Institute kollel 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.

Since its inception five years ago, the program has benefited from the generosity of Dr. Mordecai D. Katz, Chairman of the Bar-Ilan Board of Trustees and a Vice President of the American Friends of Bar-Ilan University who resides in Bergen County, NJ, and from the J. Samuel Harwit Z"L and Manya Harwit-Aviv Charitable Trust, based in Los Angeles.

To learn more about science programs and research taking place at Bar-Ilan University, contact Howard Charish at howard.charish@afbiu.org or call 212-906-3900.

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