When not in Israel: A few seniors’ second semester plans3 min read

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photo by Amelia Davidson

Estie Wasserstein

While the rest of her class heads to Israel, senior Estie Wasserstein will stay home to volunteer as a teacher’s aide in kindergarten science classes at the Bayard Rustin elementary school in Rockville, Md.

Wasserstein will spend next year studying at a seminary in Israel, so she feels going to Israel with her class for an additional three months is “unnecessary.” Her seminary study also includes a portion in Eastern Europe, so she will not be joining the class in Europe either.

“I would really love to be with my grade and to get to have all those experiences, but from a very young age I knew that I was going for a year to learn, so I knew that was my priority,” Wasserstein said. 

Wasserstein is excited about her job because it combines science and education, two subjects in which she has long been interested.

“I really wanted an opportunity that would let me do something that I was really interested in,” Wasserstein said. “This is a really good way to have a flexible schedule but also to mesh my two interests by working predominantly in science classrooms.” 


photo by Amelia Davidson

Ethan Shurberg

This February, senior Ethan Shurberg will move to Boston to start a seven-month paid internship at the Boston Children’s Hospital. The hospital is a hub for research out of Harvard Medical School and Shurberg will work in a neuroscience lab there.

In the lab, Shurberg will research the way that problems with mitochondria creation in neurons can lead to neurodegenerative diseases. Shurberg has previously worked in neuroscience labs over the summer, one summer focusing on traumatic brain injury, and one summer focusing on Alzheimer’s. Shurberg is excited about this internship because it will expand his previous knowledge.

“I think it’s going to be a really great experience and I’m really just going to be working side-by-side with graduate students and helping them with their research and with solving problems, and just progressing their research,” Shurberg said. “There isn’t going to be any hand-holding or anything like that, which is nice.”


photo by Amelia Davidson

Ilana Kaplan

Senior Ilana Kaplan looks toward a busy spring. As president of BBYO’s D.C. Council, Kaplan’s responsibilities make it impossible for her to go to Israel. She will be staying home to continue her work running D.C. Council and to fully carry out her work for BBYO’s International Convention. Kaplan is the Stakeholders’ Administrative Assistant for the International Order, meaning that during the convention she will work with BBYO’s large donors.

“[The decision] was definitely difficult,” Kaplan said. “At the beginning of junior year, I was serving my first year as a council board member, and I really realized how fulfilling it was and how important it was to me to be in this position, and I couldn’t think of leaving BBYO and all of the work that I’d been doing behind and going to Israel for three months.”

Although BBYO is what primarily pushed Kaplan not to go to Israel, she will not focus only on BBYO this spring. She will intern at the Montgomery County State Attorney’s office and the Family Justice Center, where she will help with casework and with planning for the Choose Respect conference for Montgomery County teens this April. 

Overall, while the decision was not easy, Kaplan is excited for the opportunities that come along with her remaining home during the spring.

“I’m most excited to close out the five years of my BBYO career in this position that holds so much legacy,” Kaplan said. “And also because of me staying home, I’m able to intern at such an amazing place and get such an amazing experience that I wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.”

This story was featured in the Volume 36, Issue 4 edition of The Lion’s Tale, published on January 25, 2019.

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