Schulich Program Prepares TAU Students for Leadership
TAU electrical engineering student Itzik Avital, 26, was identified as a potential star student upon entering his studies at TAU. Based on his outstanding matriculation, university entrance grades and socio-economic background, Itzik was accepted to TAU’s Schulich Leaders program, which supports outstanding undergraduate students throughout their degrees studies. Itzik is one of 18 TAU Schulich Leaders to date.
The Schulich Leader Scholarships is a wide-ranging initiative extending from Canada to Israel and comprising a $100 million endowment for three years. The scholarships award generous grants to undergraduates at Canadian and Israeli universities, among them TAU. The scholarships are bestowed on students demonstrating outstanding potential in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The program is the vision of Canadian mining magnate and philanthropist Seymour Schulich, one of Canada’s best-known Jewish business leaders. Mr. Schulich believes strongly that science and technology are the driving forces behind the economies of both Canada and Israel. “My hope is that after a successful pilot, this initiative will help ensure Canada and Israel are at the forefront of excellence in science and research for generations to come. Together, we are creating the next generation of technology innovators,” he said.
Itzik served in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) in the elite commando unit, Duvdevan. Now in his third year of the challenging four-year TAU electrical engineering degree program, he acknowledges that neither he nor his family could have afforded his studies without the grant. “The Schulich scholarship enables me to develop my full potential and to fulfil my dreams of becoming a high-tech entrepreneur,” says Itzik.
Itzik holds a student work position at high-tech giant Intel, where he is involved in designing the next generation of long lasting batteries for tablets. Like all students in the program, he volunteers to tutor needy pupils in a south Tel Aviv school. “We teach them math and some engineering,” says Itzik. “I hope this early start will help them gain the same opportunities I got through this scholarship.”
Like Itzik, Hila Israelov, 25, a BSc student in neuroscience and psychology, says she would have found it impossible to succeed in this challenging study track without the Schulich Leaders scholarship. Coming from a disadvantaged neighborhood in South Tel Aviv, Hila says the scholarship has given her a chance to devote herself exclusively to her studies. A former Division Commander in the Nahal Brigade of the IDF, where she served for five years, Israelov, says she has been interested in the workings of the brain since childhood. “I always loved biology, but I have a scientific and a humanistic side, and this expresses itself in my studies in both neuroscience and psychology,” she says. She is particularly interested in the psychological effects of neurodegenerative diseases.
Hila mentors a youth in her own neighborhood of South Tel Aviv, tutoring him one-to-one throughout the three years of her degree. “We have developed a special relationship,” she says, “I’m helping to open up his horizons and see that university studies are a real possibility. I believe this is a type of social leadership and a role model for reducing gaps in education.”
TAU President Josef Klafter addresses a meeting of Schulich Leaders from all Israeli universities that was held at TAU
At TAU, the program is coordinated by the Celia, Henry & Gerald Burger Unit for Student Aid at TAU’s Ruth and Allen Ziegler Student Services Division, working in close cooperation with the Schulich Foundation operating nationwide in both Canada and Israel.
Head of the Student Aid Unit, Annie Lewy, says, "We are more than happy to have TAU students participating in this very exclusive program. The Schulich Leaders Program enables our outstanding students to dedicate themselves more intensively in their studies and develop themselves into the future leaders of the community. The generous scholarship granted to each student – 10,000 Canadian dollars per year for three or four years, depending on the subject studied – is today one of the highest granted to undergraduate students allows students to complete their studies and start their careers without more delay."
Seymour Schulich is among Canada’s greatest philanthropists, having donated in excess of $350 million to various causes. Named “Mining Man of the Year” in 1997, he is an Officer of the Order of Canada and holds honorary doctorates from five universities.