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Conquering the Wall of Fear

 For Periphery Scholar Yakir Mazuz, studying at TAU is a dream come true

TAU student Yakir Mazuz had a decisive experience while working at a hotel as a teenager. “I was exposed to the harsh reality of Israel’s periphery there,” says Mazuz, who hails from Tzfat in Israel’s North. “I met people from the margins of society, who worked hard to earn minimum wage. Their employers exploited them. Many didn’t know how to read their pay slips, never mind know their rights.”

He decided then that if he could “break the glass ceiling” and attend a top university, he would study law to help these people.

Today, Mazuz is a third-year student at TAU’s Buchmann Faculty of Law and a participant in TAU’s Periphery Program. Aimed at outstanding students like him, the Program boosts accessibility to higher education among Israelis from disadvantaged backgrounds and outlying communities.

He explains that without the Program, he wouldn’t have been able to make the transition to pursue academic studies in Israel’s central region.

Growing up in an Orthodox community, “I was always different as a child,” he says. “I never fully subscribed to religious norms and the path that I was expected to follow: to combine army service with yeshiva study, marry young and attend a local college. I invested in my studies because I knew that they would help me move forward.”

During high school, TAU tapped him for the Periphery Program. After successfully meeting the Program criteria, Mazuz completed his mandatory army service and then enrolled at TAU.

“At the beginning, it was very, very scary,” he says. “Everyone you know is in the North. You’re on your own. You’re responsible for yourself completely.”

“It’s like there’s a wall that separates Israel’s North from Tel Aviv,” says Mazuz. “Many promising young people from the periphery have potential to succeed but they can’t breach that wall without help.”  It’s not only about resources and materials needs, he says, but mindset, lifestyle and more. “Everything is different.”

Mazuz says he is grateful to TAU and President Prof. Ariel Porat, who founded the Program when he was Dean of Law in the early 2000s. The Program gave me an opportunity to thrive, and I jumped at the chance to fulfill my dream of studying at the best law faculty at the country’s best university.”

TAU’s Periphery Program recruits students based on their achievements relative to their classmates, rather than on standardized admissions tests that pitch them against privileged peers from the country’s wealthier central region. It provides financial, academic, emotional and social support alongside career and employment guidance. In return, students perform community service. Ultimately, the Program aims to help scholars realize their potential and inspire other young people from their communities to follow suit.

The Program recently received an infusion of support from the Charles Evelyne and Sandra Dolansky Periphery Scholarship Fund and a fund established by Campaign Cabinet members Dr. Kathy Fields and Dr. Garry Rayant in honor of Campaign Chair Dr. Anita Friedman.

Mazuz says he has made good friends through the Program and values the support he receives from its staff. “You never feel alone,” he says. Moreover, his scholarship and living stipend allow him to focus on his studies and will enable him to finish his degree on time, without the need to work too much, he says.

Through his personal experience, his internships at NGOs through the Periphery Program, and his participation in TAU’s Workers’ Rights Legal Clinic, he is convinced that substantive social change can only come through the courts.

“We can’t expect a lawmaker in an ivory tower to understand what people in the social and economic periphery experience. We need people like us who come from there, and then succeed, to take action.”

As he begins his last year at TAU, Mazuz says he’d like to accrue work experience in public law before returning to academia for graduate studies. “I want to put into practice what I’ve been planning for so long: to give back and effect positive social change.”

By Melanie Takefman


Starting from Scratch at TAU’s Lowy International School

 MBA student Tim Kogan is starting his career anew in Israel after leaving Ukraine

Tim Kogan is a new oleh from the now-war-ravaged town of Donetsk, Ukraine, attending TAU’s Sofaer Global MBA program thanks to University scholarships for Ukrainian students. 

Tim fled Ukraine for Israel with his wife and three daughters just before the war broke out. His background is in investment banking and entrepreneurship, and the MBA is actually his second graduate degree. He has over 15 years of experience in the Ukrainian investment world, but “when the war started my career and professional relationships got sidelined,” says Tim.

However, Tim says the thing he’s proudest of is his family: his daughters bring him great joy and have kept his hope alive. It was his love for them which, in a twist of fate, brought him to Israel.

Premonitions of War

After his youngest was born in 2020, Tim had a gut feeling that he needed to leave Ukraine. He went to a psychologist to try to understand the feeling, and during an therapeutic exercise, he had what could only be called a premonition. “I had a vision of war. I didn’t really know what I was seeing, but I knew it didn’t feel safe for my kids.”

He decided to trust his instincts and made aliyah. Luckily, his parents and sister were already living in Israel, so he had help on arrival. And this meant that, miraculously, his whole immediate family was in Israel by the time of the invasion.

A True Israeli

To Tim’s surprise, he felt at home immediately. He felt he’d always been a part of Israeli culture without even knowing it. “I was always more direct than the people around me, and people thought I was weird. Now I know I just had chutzpah!” He was even making café shachor (Turkish coffee, like Israelis drink it) in Ukraine without knowing it was a real brew method.

And of course, he has kept his eyes open for new career opportunities. When he discovered the Global MBA program at the TAU Coller School of Management, he saw a way to break into the Israeli finance market, build connections, and get some of that Israeli oomph that makes startup founders so prolific in the TAU alumni pool. “I’m taking a big risk,” he says, “but TAU seems like the perfect place to bet on.”

Starting a new program and a new career from scratch could have been a real strain on his family, but thanks to the Sofaer Global MBA Fund and the TAU Emergency Fellowship Fund for Ukrainian Graduate Students, Tim’s tuition is paid almost entirely by the University.

Although his family was lucky, they’ve still suffered a great amount of loss back in their home country. But Tim is looking to the future—his own and that of his field. He says that as private equity and more responsible approaches to capital raising become more commonplace, investment banking will have to catch up. He hopes to be a leader in that development.

“Overcoming the Most Difficult Year of My Life”

A TAU scholarship student perseveres during tough times on her way to becoming a doctor

When Weaam Asli, a recent Tel Aviv University biology graduate, was in her second year of studies she almost dropped out.  The scholarship she received from the Whitman Scholarship Fund was the only thing that kept her afloat during COVID-19 job closures and family health problems.

Asli comes from Arraba, a small Arab town in the north of Israel. She is the third oldest out of five brothers and sisters. All her siblings have pursued or are on the path to entering higher education, which the family has always made a priority. However, in 2020, when Asli was a second-year TAU student, the odds lined up harshly against her ability to stay in school. 

“During COVID I lost my job, which partially helped me to support myself and my studies. My dad, who worked at a restaurant, also lost his job. At the same time, my mom had a severe accident – she couldn’t move and spent a long period of time in the hospital,” recounts Asli. 

That’s when the Lois and Martin Whitman Scholarship Asli had been receiving at TAU became a lifesaver. “It enabled me to keep going and continue my studies, especially in that second year – the most difficult one of my life. It helped me get through this rough patch,” says Asli, her eyes flashing with emotion. 



Launched in 2008, the Lois and Martin Whitman Scholarship Fund promotes the academic mobility and development of Arab students, within TAU’s larger framework of assisting disadvantaged groups and communities. Besides financial support, students receive mentorship and social counseling programs, also available through the Fund. Over the years the initiative has supported more than 1,000 students in both undergraduate and advanced degrees.

“We set up the Fund to give a lift up to Arab students and I’m delighted that it has worked so well,” says Lois Whitman. “I look forward to the Fund being able to help many more students in the future.” 

 The commitment of Lois Whitman and her late husband, TAU Honorary Doctor. Martin Whitman, to promoting coexistence and advancing underprivileged populations was also the reason for their establishment of the Whitman Family Center for Coexistence at TAU’s Coller School of Management in 2015. 

“The role played by the Whitman family in the development and progress of Arab students at TAU cannot be overstated. The impact it has had and continues to have will be felt for many years to come,” said Prof. Drorit Neumann, the TAU Dean of Students. 
Asli is now studying to apply to medical school. For the past five years, she has also been volunteering at Rambam hospital in Haifa, in the children’s oncology ward, “to help the children and put a smile on their faces.” 

“Scholarships are very important. They give us, the students, a chance to fulfill our dreams and be whatever we want to be; they help us explore life from different perspectives. We live in a world where it is very difficult to survive–having a scholarship helps,” Asli concludes.

– By Julie Steigerwald 

At the Vanguard of Global Brain Research

Canadian Larry and Judy Tanenbaum Family Foundation supports TAU post-doc fellowships in neuroscienc.

When Dr. Tomer Langberg, a fresh Ph.D. graduate in neuroscience from the University of California, Berkeley, searched for a post-doctoral position, Tel Aviv University was at the top of his list. However, coming here would not have been possible without the Tanenbaum Fellowship’s financial support.

“TAU’s Neuroscience School is amazing, and there is real progress being made here to understand the brain,” Langberg says. “However, fellowship stipends for post-docs in Israel are relatively low, so the Tanenbaum Fellowship has been essential in enabling me to continue my studies here. It makes this a more competitive place to work compared to universities in other countries.”

Langberg researches the role of neurons in creating memories. His work may have major implications for understanding memory-related neuropsychiatric conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease.

Langberg first discovered TAU when he met a few former graduate students of Prof. Inna Slutsky while studying at UC Berkley. Slutsky, of the Sackler School of Medicine and Sagol School of Neuroscience, is a world-renowned expert in the science behind Alzheimer’s and is the winner of the Metlife Foundation Award for Research in Alzheimer’s disease. Langberg now works in her lab. “She is a fantastic mentor,” says Langberg of Slustsky. “In the lab, we use state-of-the-art technology, and I’m learning from the best people to use it. I could not be happier to be here and to have been awarded this Fellowship,” he adds.


A “Perfect” Partnership

For the last few years, the Larry and Judy Tanenbaum Family Foundation has been instrumental in supporting post-doctoral fellows such as Langberg in the field of brain sciences.


“We believe in neuroscience research because that is the key to understanding and, one day, hopefully treating and curing Alzheimer’s disease, drug addiction, and depression,” say Larry and Judy Tanenbaum from Toronto, who are active supporters of neuroscience research both in Israel and worldwide.

“We hope our support will allow TAU to continue attracting and training the next generation of researchers aiming to unravel the various mechanisms of the human body’s most complex and mysterious organ.”

“By being at the vanguard of global brain research, TAU is a perfect fit for our efforts in promoting neuroscience research and standing with Israel,” the Tanenbaums added.

Crucial Support

TAU leaders say that post-doc support is crucial for the development of science in Israel. “In recent years, we see that more and more Israeli and international students are looking to complete their post-doc fellowships in Israel. Despite the growth in interest, however, there is a huge deficit of funding opportunities for post-docs here,” explains Prof. Yossi Yovel, Head of the Sagol School for Neuroscience. “The Tanenbaum Fellowships are therefore extremely important for us, filling this crucial gap and substantially contributing to the development of science at TAU and in Israel.”

In parallel to Langberg, a second Tanenbaum Fellow, Dr. Lee Harten, is completing post-doctoral research at the Wise Faculty of Life Sciences under Yovel’s supervision. She is a TAU Ph.D. alumna who studies the relationship between brain structure and decision-making through bats.

“Both of our post-doctoral fellows have recently finished their PhDs and this post-doc period funded by the Tanenbaum Foundation is extremely important for their future careers,” concludes Yovel. “Tomer and Lee are both excellent fellows, and I am sure their scientific contribution will be substantial.”

By Sveta Raskin

From the Patriarch to the Mossad: Learning About Israel on the Inside

Greek student Athanasios Katsikidis pursues his passion for reporting in Israel.

What do a former prime minister, a Greek Holocaust survivor and a retired spy chief have in common? Besides living in Israel, they have all been interviewed by one passionate TAU International student from Greece, Athanasios Katsikidis.

Katsikidis has been interested in history, national security, and crisis management since high school. Upon completing an undergraduate degree in social and political science in his native Greece, he looked around for the best graduate program to continue developing his interests.

“Tel Aviv University has the best practical security program. It is also based in Tel Aviv, which is a technological hub, developing some of the latest solutions for the security field.  Combined, these two factors give TAU’s Security and Diplomacy Program a clear competitive edge,” he said.


 Katsikidis visiting Wadi Rum in Jordan

Although Katsikidis had never been to Israel, he applied to TAU’s International MA in Security and Diplomacy without hesitation.  “I was always curious about Israel, a country that combines cultures and traditions, a place where human historic and religious roots are inter-connected. However, I also had stereotypes about it, seeing Israel as a potentially hostile and violent place,” he confessed.   

Upon being accepted, Katsikidis received a scholarship from TAU International, which reduced his financial burden and allowed him to concentrate on his studies. “I was able to repay my student debts and feel more relaxed about supporting myself,” he said.

Thanks to support from the scholarship, Katsikidis was also able to further pursue his passion for writing about politics and intelligence.  “I am very interested in meeting key political and historical figures and interviewing them. This is a passion that started back in Greece and continued here in Israel,” he explained. Alongside his studies, Katsikidis is producing the interviews and writing opinion pieces for Greece’s oldest newspaper, Estia, and the English edition of Kathimerini, which is published with the international edition of The New York Times. 

Katsikidis has conducted a dozen interviews and organized meetings with leading Israeli politicians, security experts, and various other “movers and shakers.” Among them are Defense Minister and TAU alumnus Benny Gantz, Greek Patriarch Theophilos III, two former Mossad directors, one former Prime Minister and other well-known figures.

Scholarships are therefore very important – they allow students to develop their passions and talents, realize their potential, and achieve their dreams,“ Katsikidis reflected.

 Katsikidis with Greek Patriarch Theophilos III

The meetings and conversations, along with his studies and trips around the country, provided Katsikidis with an inside look into Israeli society and helped break the misconceptions he once had.  “It’s good for Israel that it is such an open place, where even high-ranking officials will agree to meet and speak with you. It helps the more conservative among us to understand it better,” he said.               

“My family and friends were afraid of rocket attacks and the violence. It’s always about the headlines. You internalize the bad news first. But I discovered Israel to be very different—it’s very friendly and family-oriented and shares many cultural values with Greece and its society. Even the spies are friendly here,” Katsikidis reflected, with a smile. “I will definitely be back.”

-By Sveta Raskin

Combating Stigmas, Helping Others Thrive

Coming from the Israeli-Ethiopian community, TAU student Bat El Bogala is intimately familiar with the challenges surrounding mental health care among its population. 

“My ultimate goal is to raise mental health awareness and help people in the Israeli-Ethiopian community, where the subject is taboo,” says Bogala, who recently finished her first year of a bachelor’s degree, double-majoring in psychology and English literature.  

“I hope to apply my studies to become a clinical psychologist and combat the intergenerational stigma and feelings of shame which deter a lot of people from seeking mental health care,” she says. “It’s very important for me to help overcome this challenge so people don’t keep feeling like something is wrong with them for seeking help.” 

Bogala is pursuing the first step toward her aspirations with a scholarship funded by French philanthropists André and Thérèse Harari. The Thérèse and André Harari Foundation funds a program which provides full degree support for a total of 20 TAU students of Ethiopian descent each year. It was established in association with the French Judaism Foundation and French Friends of TAU. 



André Harari explains: “Our scholarship program aims to increase the low representation of Israeli-Ethiopian students within the general student body and to enable them to pursue paths of excellence for their future professional lives.”   

“Students can count on our Foundation’s scholarship year after year until the end of their studies at TAU, provided (only) that they succeed in their yearly exams,” he adds. “This means they receive support until their bachelor’s graduation and, if they decide to continue, through their master’s degree, and even their PhD. ” 

Added Incentive  

“The scholarship alleviated a lot of the pressure of having to work to finance my studies,” says Bogala, who had worked since age 16. “It enabled me to breathe easy and place all my focus on my studies without having to be preoccupied with affording tuition, rent and living expenses.” 

Bogala applied for the scholarship through ADMAS, the scholarships and support framework for Israeli-Ethiopians students at TAU, which is administered by the Dean of Students. 

“Without the scholarship, I don’t think I would be able to pursue my degree as effectively as I can now and live so close to the University campus, which makes a difference,” says Bogala, who is originally from Yavne, a city south of Tel Aviv. 

She adds that the scholarship gives her extra incentive to succeed in her studies, “to show the Hararis that I truly appreciate the support and am using it to the best of my ability.” 

Gateway to Success 

Bogala is the youngest of eight siblings and a first-generation university student. She was born in Israel after her parents and all but one older sibling made aliyah to Israel from Ethiopia.  

“My parents made aliyah from Ethiopia, and it was always important to them that we succeed in our educations and continue to academia, which they see as the gateway to success and full integration into Israeli society,” she says. 

In high school, Bogala participated in a program for gifted students. She points to her empathetic and curious nature for contributing to her interest in psychology as a way to understand herself and others. 

“I was always the friend whom people came to for advice and to lend an ear for their problems,” she recalls.  

Although she didn’t have any English language background growing up, she excelled in the subject and developed a passion for literature. She says her English literature studies at TAU greatly help her digest academic material related to psychology, which is mainly written in English. 

Following her bachelor’s degree, Bogala plans to pursue a master’s degree and complete a four-year residency to become a licensed clinical psychologist.  

She encourages aspiring students to seek financial aid opportunities, without hesitation, through the Dean of Students Office.  

“I don’t take for granted the support my scholarship provides,” she underscores. “I hope to one day be in a position to help others thrive and achieve their dreams as the Hararis have helped me.” 

– By Julie Steigerwald 


From City of God to the Holy Land

Brazilian student will apply TAU expertise in social innovation to empower youth in her impoverished hometown.

As a girl, TAU scholarship student Ana Letícia Araújo would accompany her mother from their favela in Rio de Janeiro to her job as a housekeeper in an affluent neighborhood. Her mother’s employer was an esteemed university professor, and Araújo marveled at how the professora and her children spoke English and travelled abroad to pursue their education. 

The experience planted the seed of ambition in Araújo to study for an academic degree. The odds were against her. Her neighborhood, called City of God, is a crime-ridden shantytown made infamous by a movie of the same name; she grew up among criminals small and large, drug dealers and other unsavory characters. “For a person who grew up like me to see beyond this is very hard,” she says.  

Moreover, she couldn’t afford tutoring or extra-curricular activities to feed her dream. 

After finishing public school, she was accepted to a state university. Yet, she couldn’t afford to pay tuition and support herself simultaneously, so she decided to work and save money—to be able to one day pursue higher education. Inspired by her mother’s boss, she remained resolute to study abroad, so she taught herself English, costly college prep courses being out of reach. 

Fifteen years later, she is a student in TAU International’s BA in Liberal Arts program, majoring in psychology, entrepreneurship and philosophy. Her ultimate goal: to return to her hometown and help children like her lead better lives.  

Social Entrepreneurship 

When Araújo was applying to universities, she initially looked in the US and Europe. After seeing an advertisement for TAU, though, she decided that it was the place for her because of its world-class reputation and focus on innovation and entrepreneurship. More practically, TAU offered her a scholarship, the deciding factor in her decision to enroll. 

“Without the scholarship, I wouldn’t be in Israel because I would not be able to afford the rent or tuition,” she says. Support from the Brazilian Friends of TAU Scholarship Fund and TAU  


International helps her “feel more relaxed to be studying, so I can focus on what matters.”  

Araújo says she is very happy to be at TAU, where she lives in the dorms. When it comes to academics, she values her instructors and the multidisciplinary curriculum. “I love the classes, especially those that help us develop critical thought and our own initiatives,” she adds.  

She has also adapted well to Tel Aviv: “I love the way things work here! The safety of the city is different for me.” 

Ana Letícia Araújo. (Photo: Moshe Bedarshi)

Ripple Effect 

As her first year at TAU comes to an end, Araújo remains focused on developing a social start-up she started planning in Brazil. Incorporating TAU’s multidisciplinary approach, she plans to teach orphans from her favela informal skills such as cooking, sports and music, to help them succeed in life. She says she brings added value as a native and intends to involve the residents as well. Combining this with the expertise in innovation and social entrepreneurship she is accruing at TAU, Araújo believes she can create something truly original—and effective. 

The opportunity will have a ripple effect on her community, she says. “I always believed that education can transform people and transform the world,” Araújo says.  

“To give a scholarship to someone is like to [plant] a tree that has roots and branches,” she continues.  

“The day I received my scholarship was a very important moment in my life. Maybe through me, other lives can be changed, too.” 

– By Melanie Takefman 

Nursing People through Hard Times

Tami Fund Scholarship gives TAU student Hodaya Levy Rublin the chance to follow her dream.

As a teenager, Hodaya Levy Rublin fell in love with the nursing profession when she volunteered at a children’s hospital. Watching the nurses work mesmerized her. She knew then that she wanted to be like them.

The Tami Fund Scholarship she received for studies at TAU’s Steyer School of Health Professions has been an indispensable element of her journey.

“I want to be the best nurse you’ve ever seen,” she says, adding that she aspires to specialize in pediatric emergency medicine.

Uphill Struggle

Levy Rublin’s path to enrolling at university was not easy. Growing up as the seventh of nine children in a single-parent family, she didn’t imagine a future that included higher education. She studied at an Orthodox religious school that did not teach a curriculum that could lead to academic studies. In high school, though, she transferred to a less religious school, so that she could matriculate. 

Upon completing her national service as a companion for elderly women, “who became like my grandmothers,” Levy Rublin took a waitressing job to save for university studies. Even though she worked double shifts for five years, she could never put aside enough after paying her basic expenses. 

When COVID-19 struck, she lost her job. With encouragement from her new husband, she enrolled in an undergraduate program at TAU, even though she didn’t have funds to pay tuition.
Then, once on TAU’s campus, Levy Rublin wasn’t sure that she belonged. 



The Dean of Students’ Financial Aid Office matched her with a scholarship from the Tami Fund, set up to assist students with socioeconomic need. 


“Receiving the scholarship helped me believe that I deserve to be here, that TAU is my place,” Levy Rublin said. “It gave me the opportunity to concentrate on my studies and be a good student, without worrying about paying the bills.
“I love people. In the emergency room, you meet people of all ages. I think I have the ability to communicate with different people. I want to be there [for them] in their hard times, to make them feel a little bit better and to give back to society.” In addition, she said she knows how to withstand pressure and believes she will excel in the ER’s intensive atmosphere.

“My profession and the opportunity given to me by the scholarship will allow me to succeed in life,” Levy Rublin said.

-By Melanie Takefman

The Business of Balagan: Global MBA Propels Student’s Career

A TAU scholarship helped Eitan Rozen secure an international degree—and job

After three years working at a global consultancy firm in his native Mexico, Eitan Rozen knew he wanted to pursue graduate studies abroad, but Israel wasn’t an obvious choice.

The COVID-19 pandemic brought him on a family visit to Israel. At the time, very few scholarships were available in Latin America, so he decided to visit the Sofaer Global MBA program at Tel Aviv University. He liked the fact that TAU is “recognized in the world” and its curriculum focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation and the startup ecosystem, subjects that complemented his undergraduate studies in Mexico. He was also partial to the Program’s intensive one-year curriculum.

A scholarship from the Program put his plan into action. “Studying at TAU and living in Israel would not have been possible without the generosity of people who donate scholarships,” Rozen says. ”I, for one, and many other students wouldn’t be here without this help.

“It’s 100% necessary and appreciated.”

Now, with a fresh MBA degree from TAU’s Coller School of Management under his belt, Rozen says he recommends the program wholeheartedly, from the academics to the networking opportunities. Although things are sometimes disorganized (“a balagan”), he loves the program’s personal touch and the fact that he can knock on the director’s door whenever he wants. “It’s the Israeli way.”

“We are an incredibly diverse group,” he adds, with 40 students from 22 different countries. 

When in Rome…

Rozen quickly adapted to the Tel Aviv mindset. He had asked his firm in Mexico if he could transfer to the Israeli office for the duration of his degree. They said no.

He then went to the Israeli office, announced, and secured part-time work that lasted his entire degree. Now that he has graduated, they offered him a full-time job. He plans to stay indefinitely.

He says the Sofaer MBA “gave me the tools to grow personally and professionally and achieve better things in life.” Rozen continues, “I love everything….the environment, the vibe, the University, getting to know people, living and experiencing a great campus, the diversity, top professors. It’s a unique experience. Plus, you live in Tel Aviv.”

– By Melanie Takefman


From EMT to MIT: Shai Zilberzwige-Tal’s Fast-Track Journey in Life Sciences

Scholarship helps outstanding student follow her dreams.

When Shai Zilberzwige-Tal completed her army service, during which she was an emergency medical technician (EMT) stationed along the Gaza Strip, she knew she wanted to learn more about helping people combat disease.  

Now, eight years later, she’s getting ready to travel to Boston, with a PhD, two kids, and a husband in tow, to begin a post-doctoral position at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), in cell biology.

“This is a dream come true for me, and the scholarship support I received throughout my studies has been instrumental in making it happen,” she said.

Zilberzwige-Tal grew up in a small town in the south of Israel. After the army, she enrolled at TAU’s Wise Faculty of Life Sciences as an undergraduate student in biology. From the start of her academic journey, she showed her exceptional talent and drive: she was on the Dean’s list two years in a row, received an excellency award and graduated with honors. 

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Zilberzwige-Tal enrolled in the exclusive Fast Track Program at TAU’s Smolarz Graduate School. The program for outstanding students offers a direct path to a PhD in four years. For Zilberzwige-Tal, the road took five years, with two maternity leaves in the midst. The Argentinian Friends of TAU support this program, in which participating students receive full coverage of tuition and a living stipend.


“Scholarships are very important in promoting science and research in general. Students really rely on this help to get ahead,” said Zilberzwige-Tal. “Thanks to the support of scholarships, I was able to concentrate on my research and invest most of my time in my studies.” 

While studying towards her PhD at the microbiology lab in the Shmunis Center of Biomedicine & Cancer Research, Zilberzwige-Tal continued to prove that she was an exceptional student and a leader on numerous occasions. She was nominated as the Faculty’s Student Union representative for three years in a row, and she received an excellency award for her work as a teaching assistant. Recently, Zilberzwige-Tal was awarded an early career research grant from NANOSERIES for her contribution to developing a disease-modifying treatment for rare genetic metabolic disorders.

During her time at MIT, Zilberzwige-Tal plans to continue her research in gene-editing technologies. “These technologies hold great promise for the treatment of human disease,” she said.  She also hopes to reach out and initiate collaborations with world-leading scientists—collaborations that she will continue once she completes the fellowship and returns home to open her own lab in Israel, she says.


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