A Better World, Through Science and Engineering

March 9, 2017
By: Office of the Technion Spokesperson

Female high school students from across Israel visited the Technion as part of the Tech Women 2017 conference organized to encourage young women to opt for academic studies in science and engineering

Approximately 700 top female high school students from across Israel visited the Technion last Thursday as part of the annual Tech Women 2017 conference, held by the Technion in the lead up to International Women’s Day.

“Studying at the Technion means making the world a better place through science and engineering,” said Prof. Orit Hazan, Dean of Undergraduate Studies, in her opening remarks.

The conference, which took place courtesy of The Rosalyn August Foundation for the Empowerment of Young Women, is designed to encourage excelling female high schoolers to choose science and engineering for their academic studies.

The participating students are majoring in 5-point mathematics, and in the fields of science and technology. They met with female researchers and staff members, Technion alumnae, and current graduate students. They also toured labs and were exposed to the various research and study subjects in the different faculties.

“You are here because you were chosen, because we are positive that your future lies here, at the Technion,” said opening ceremony moderator Orly Reiss, an alumnus of the Technion’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering. After the opening event, each student visited two of the nine hosting faculties: Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, Mechanical Engineering, Aerospace Engineering, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Material Science & Engineering, Chemistry, and Physics.

“In the very first graduating class of the Technion, which opened in 1924, there were 16 men and one woman,” said Technion President Peretz Lavie before the event. “Today, about 37% of our undergraduates are women, and our goal is to reach 50% in all departments. This special day is dedicated to persuading female high-school students that they belong here at the Technion, and that they are able to do so. The future of the State of Israel depends on scientific and engineering knowledge, and we look forward to seeing these students here in a few years attending the Technion’s opening ceremony at the beginning of the academic year.”

According to Dr. Tzipi Horowitz-Kraus, of the Technion Faculty of Education in Science and Technology, said, “it is very exciting to see future generations of female scientists of Israel,” and urged the students to approach their studies passionately and consciously.

Dr. Horowitz-Kraus also spoke of her own brother, who was extremely intelligent but had difficulties reading, and of her consequential decision to specialize in the field of language acquisition. The founder of the Technion’s Educational Neuroimaging Center, she shared her discoveries regarding the connection between brain development and the development of language and reading skills in infants and children. “I examine the child’s brain as he or she listens to a story, and try to understand the processes taking place and the way listening improves future reading skills.”

Sarah Nagosa, a PhD student at the Ruth & Bruce Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, discussed the topic of her dissertation: Eye diseases and their treatment. Nagosa immigrated to Israel from Ethiopia at the age of three, and grew up in Kiryat Malachi.

“I only first heard of the Technion when I was 17 years old, when several American donors came to visit my high school,” she said. “I decided that day that this is what I want to do – to attend the Technion. Of course, I had apprehensions – what if I’m not accepted? What if I’m not smart enough? But I applied for admission and was accepted to the Faculty of Biology.”

“The beginning wasn’t easy – I felt so small and the campus was so huge,” she continued. “It was hard for me to find common ground with the rest of the students. But I slowly realized that we all had the same apprehensions, and I suddenly found the courage to ask questions. Today, working on my research and serving as a teaching assistant at the same time, I can tell you that while the Technion might be tough academically, it is “soft” and simple in every other way: the dorms, tutoring and any other form of assistance. The difficulties have not disappeared, but I’ve learned to overcome them, knowing that my ultimate goal is worth it.”

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.