Friday, June 05, 2020

(Courtesy of JCT) The Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT), a leader in providing high-level science and technology education to religious students in Israel and worldwide, announced the first recipient of a new scholarship for outstanding computer or engineering students.

Ahuva Cohen, 19, a first-year software engineering student at JCT’s Tal Campus for women, has received the inaugural Rozalie Schachter Scholarship. The $3,000 scholarship towards tuition fees will be awarded to one Tal Campus student annually for the next 10 years. Eligible recipients are students who achieve an average score of over 90 in their studies.

The prize is named after the late Dr. Rozalie Schachter, the daughter of Satmar chasidim, who immigrated to the U.S. from Romania at age 16, obtained a Ph.D. in physics from New York University, and became a trailblazer for women in the fields of technology and business. Schachter served as vice president of strategic initiatives at Herley Industries and vice president of business development at General Microwave Corporation, among other senior roles.

Cohen—a Jerusalem native and the oldest of seven siblings—will utilize the scholarship to advance her goal of following in her parents’ footsteps by working in the field of computers. JCT is the ideal destination for that pursuit, as the university prides itself on defying gender patterns of women’s lagging participation in science and technology education and careers.

According to Israel’s Council of Higher Education, women account for 58 percent of students who pursue a bachelor’s degree in the country, but just 29 percent of Israeli college students who study computer science. Yet at JCT, 53 percent of the institution’s computer science students are women, and they account for 20 percent of female computer science students in all of Israel.

“I’m extremely grateful that the Rozalie Schachter Scholarship will enable me to devote more time to my software engineering courses while maintaining my usual focus on Jewish studies—a difficult balance that JCT allows so many religious students to achieve,” Cohen says. “I’m also humbled to receive an award named after Dr. Rozalie Schachter, a true role model for religious women like myself who wish to pursue ambitious careers in business, science or technology, but also to balance those aspirations with a strong commitment to family life and Torah values.”

When Schachter settled in Brooklyn upon moving to America, she studied at the Beis Yaakov school for girls in Borough Park and became interested in the fields of science and math. When she finished high school, the Satmar Rebbe gave her a blessing to attend college in order to follow her dreams in physics and the sciences. In the 1960s, her completion of a Ph.D. in solid-state physics at NYU was considered an anomaly not only for an Orthodox Jewish woman with children, but for all American women at the time. Schachter was posthumously honored at last year’s Friends of JCT gala dinner in New York.

“Dr. Rozalie Schachter was an entrepreneur in business, a pioneer for social causes, but most importantly, a stalwart for family,” said Friends of JCT Chair Aurora Cassirer. “Despite her prolific career, Rozalie valued her family and community above all else. Her modesty and professionalism, combined with her religion and family values, epitomize the message of JCT. This new scholarship ensures that Rozalie’s legacy lives on through the unique achievements of the Tal Campus students who will receive the award over the course of the next decade.”

Established in 1990, JCT’s Tal Campus is Israel’s first women-only engineering and technology college. The campus serves approximately 2,000 women from across the spectrum of the religiously observant community, including Modern Orthodox, National Religious, charedi and chasidic women. Tal Campus provides women the opportunity to pursue advanced undergraduate or graduate studies alongside a comprehensive Jewish studies program.

Tal Campus alumni have a job placement rate of over 90 percent in their field of study and are readily employed by leading firms and startups such as Intel, Texas Instruments, Check Point and IBM, among others. Following their studies, many graduates continue to pursue advanced academic careers and others are involved in top R&D projects for Israel’s defense industry.