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Thursday, February 02, 2023
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Ma’ayanot’s annual STEAMTalks on December 13 introduced eight highly-accomplished Orthodox women in an exciting program spotlighting different STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics) career opportunities. Head of School CB Neugroschl opened the program by noting that the theme, “Be Bold, Be Bright, Be Enlightened,” reflects both the light of the Shabbat candles, which usher in a day of inward spiritual focus, and the Chanukah candles, which direct outward to publicize the holiday’s miracles. The presenters at Ma’ayanot’s STEAMTalks reflect both kinds of light, maintaining their steadfast commitment to Jewish observance when faced with workplace challenges about Shabbat, kashrut and work-family balance, while achieving success in the fields of healthcare, public health, technology, engineering and design.

The presenters were Rachel Beiser, a product designer who optimizes user experience for her company’s healthcare applications; Pamela Joseph (Ma’ayanot class of ‘09), owner and lead designer of a residential interior design studio; Jenny Nachbar, Ph.D., director of Safety Sciences and Surveillance at Novavax; Aviva Oppenheim, team leader on multi-million dollar infrastructure projects as a mechanical engineer for the Port Authority; and Ma’ayanot parents Rebecca Gamss, M.D., attending radiologist; Leah Greengart, software development manager for financial applications; Jennifer Suss, D.V.M., medical director, Bergen Veterinary Hospital; and Debbie Yuster, Ph.D., professor of Data Science and Mathematics at Ramapo College.

STEAMTalks concluded with students enjoying snacks and STEAMTalks swag, as well as an “enlightening” performance by Laser Robots. Kudos to Ma’ayanot’s student committee and to STEAM Activities Coordinator Esther Slomnicki for organizing an exciting and successful program!

Students were energized by STEAMTalks. as Slomnicki emphasized, “Today, nearly every career involves STEAM skills such as computer knowledge, technology, social media or math.” Junior Talia Katz exclaimed: “It’s very empowering to see religious Jewish women in STEAM fields. I want to pursue a STEAM career, and this program gave me so much encouragement!”

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