The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Summer in science

Students participate in STEM program at Technion University in Israel
Adin Halbfinger
Senior Simon Reich builds a makeshift lighthouse at the Madatech science museum. Students on the SciTech program spent much of their time working at the Madatech museum.

This past summer, Israel’s Technion University held a science and technology based summer program for 48 international high school students in Haifa. This group included seniors Nava Feldman and Simon Reich along with teens from five other continents.

After taking a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the three week long SciTech program resumed this year with a completely new structure. While the program was formerly more research focused, this year, a lot more time was spent watching experiments in fields ranging from robotics to physics, visiting faculties, as well as taking day trips to soak in Israeli culture.

Feldman attended Camp Ramah New England for the past summers, but after her final year as a camper last year, she wanted to try something new. Feldman has been interested in science for many years and when she discovered this program through an email list about Israeli summer opportunities, she decided it would be a good way to dive deeper into different fields. While she wasn’t looking for a program specifically in Israel, it was a positive component to the program for her.

“I wanted to see if I wanted to pursue science in college,” Feldman said. “It helped me get a better idea of how broad science is since we only learn a certain sect of it in school.”

Although Reich is not very interested in STEM, he also wanted to try something new and decided to participate in the SciTech program. While he found himself not very interested in the bulk of the science content, he was impressed by the reach of the program.

“It was definitely interesting to meet people from all over,” Reich said. “It was a very different sort of group than I had been part of before. But at the same time, even though there were people from Australia and Brazil, socially it’s all a bunch of high schoolers.”

Reich and Feldman agree that the program differed from their expectations. Reich recommends that someone interested in STEM should only apply once the program is more established.

“I went into the program thinking there would be more research involved…,” Reich said. “But as it stands, I think the program is in more of a limbo stage between what it wants to be and what it has been.”

Traveling to Israel for an educational program is very similar to the Irene and Daniel Simpkins Senior Capstone Trip, and while Reich is leaning towards not attending for various reasons, Feldman doesn’t think her experience this summer will impact her decision at all as she still plans to attend.

“I’ve been to Israel many times before, but I’d never really spent a lot of time up north,” Feldman said. “It was all pretty much new to me, the places we were seeing. This year it’s going to be different because you’re doing more touristy things and you’re not studying there.”

While both Reich and Feldman found different value in the experience, they both learned a lot about themselves and the field of science after reflecting upon the program.

“If I knew how I would feel about the academics and the actual meat of the program I probably would not do it again,” Reich said. “That being said…it was a reasonable, fun experience and I learned that I definitely will not be doing STEM in the future.”

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About the Contributors
Aliza Bellas, Opinion Editor
Aliza is very excited to begin her work as Opinion Editor for the Lion’s Tale. Throughout her past year as a reporter, she has enjoyed writing for all sections, and looks forward to getting involved with design and editing. Outside of the paper, Aliza is involved in grade government, the Melting Pot magazine, and Varsity Dance Team. She is looking forward to another year on Lion’s Tale staff, and intends to contribute to improving all website and print editions in her new leadership position. 
Adin Halbfinger, News Editor
Adin Halbfinger is enraptured by the opportunity to continue his work as News Editor this year. He loves updating his peers about all news occurring both in and out of our community, and hates the Oxford comma. In addition to Lion's Tale, Adin is involved in JSA, Mock Trial, Track and Field, Grade Government and Vocab Club, which he founded with fellow Lion's Tale editor Aaron Waldman.

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