Innovating the Future: STEM Excellence at World ORT’s Summer School in Israel


World ORT hosted its annual STEM Summer School in Israel in July, creating a remarkable platform for 20 exceptional students with a passion for STEM fields. These hand-picked students from ORT network schools in 12 countries were given the chance to develop their skills while working on university-level projects at Braude College in Karmiel.

Over the course of the previous four months, students from the ORT network underwent a transformative journey during the rigorous application and interview process. Ultimately, a diverse and fortunate group of students from Argentina, Bulgaria, Brazil, Colombia, Czechia, France, Israel, Italy, Mexico, Panama, Russia and South Africa were chosen to participate.

Group of students showing their country flags. (Credit World ORT)

At the opening ceremony, World ORT Director General and CEO Dan Green said: “I hope you make really good connections and really good friends for many, many years. That’s something you really should take advantage of because the world as we see it today with technology is just a village and the connections you make today and going forward in your life are so important.”

Four projects were carried out by small groups of students under academic supervision of professional researchers. These included preparing and testing a disaster response simulation based on experience from the recent tragic earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Another group worked on a pilot system for recovering calcium from Israel’s groundwater desalination plants and recycling the saline for fish cultivation.

A biotech project offered students the opportunity to understand the lab techniques and cellular and molecular models used to screen for drugs that could be used as potential cures for aging related cancers and neurodegenerative diseases. The final option was a project to hone their engineering skills by researching and developing an assistive device that would allow people with disabilities to play music.

During the two-week program, the students were fully immersed in STEM projects, dedicating their efforts to developing innovative ideas and presenting them to their peers. Beyond the academic endeavors, they enjoyed moments exploring the beautiful landscapes of Israel and engaging in enriching Jewish experiences.

In the first week, the group embarked on a cultural adventure, visiting Tel–Aviv and Jaffa, the enchanting nature reserve of Ein Gedi, and the awe-inspiring Masada. The second week brimmed with more exciting experiences, including a rafting expedition on the Jordan River, a visit to Rosh Hanikra, relaxing moments at Betzet Beach, and wandering through the picturesque alleys of Safed, exploring ancient synagogues and tombs. They also had the privilege of touring the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Bar-Ilan.

Students in the lab. (Credit World ORT)

The students also had a workshop on Ethics in Research. It was an opportunity to challenge their preconceptions and reflect on the importance of moral thinking when creating new research projects, managing data, and building ideas that could change people’s futures.

Student Isabella Sanjur, from the Colegio Isaac Rabin in Panama, shared her impressions about the experience: “I have met really amazing people here and the research is super interesting. I’ve had so much fun and I’ve learned so much about Jewish and Israeli culture -it’s been incredible.”

Braude College in Karmiel, Israel, designs and delivers the research projects that enriched the students’ experience and coordinates the logistics of project.

Dr. Itay Malek, Head of the Science-Oriented Youth Center, Braude College of Engineering, said the link with World ORT was an important collaboration: : “We had the honor of hosting outstanding students from all over the world in the college’s research laboratories, meeting active researchers and being exposed to their research work in a practical way. We look forward to continued cooperation next year.”

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