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Archive for May, 2011

Note: The following entry was written by Noa Ben Harav. For more information on Noa, please click on the “About Our Blog” tab above.

Jomi on the Technion campus.

This week I met Jomi Kramer, a first-year mechanical engineering student at the Technion. She hails from Minnesota and made aliyah to Israel in 2006 with the Garin Tsabar program, which supports new immigrants who came to Israel without family by placing them on kibbutzim around the country. There, they live in dormitory conditions, but with host families who take care of individual soldiers during their military service.

Jomi started down the path to Aliyah in high school, when she went to Israel for a semester. Like many people who first come to Israel, she fell in love with it. One of the most memorable moments during the trip was the week-long Gadna program, which gives high school students a one week long taste of army life.

Jomi says her army training helped prepare her for life at the Technion.

After a return trip with the Marva program, a 2-month training course for Jewish youths who want a taste of Israeli army life, Jomi realized “I wanted to be Israeli and do the army.” So, in 2006 she moved to Israel to live on Kibbutz Sasa in the northern Galilee. Jomi became a heavy weapons instructor for combat soldiers, before moving on to training soilders in state-of-the-art 3-D technology, and even helping to train American Marines visiting Israel.

I asked Jomi what it was like training soldiers in these units, how they take orders from women their age, and whether they respect their commanders. “If you show them you know what you are doing, they take orders really well…They respect you in a different way from their [male] commanders.” Jomi is lucky in one sense:

Jomi helped train U.S. Marines using advanced 3-D technology.

dealing with so many male soldiers in the army probably helped her prepare for the Technion.

“Ten percent, maybe less,” of the mechanical engineering students at the Technion are female, Jomi tells me. “But it’s great. You stand out more.  You get a lot more attention especially as an immigrant.  I would say I really stand out!” Jomi has been a surprised how much easier it is to be a female engineer here than in other places in the world. “People help you here, the administration, the professors, and even more so, the other students…You can grab anyone on campus and ask them for help and they will stop and help you with whatever you need.” The help extends beyond the classroom. “Beyond all

Jomi gives an overview of one of her research projects.

the other schools the Technion was so helpful through the whole process of applying and starting school for someone who is alone in the country. Every other place seemed to make it harder. I was surprised by how helpful and supportive everyone is here.”

Jomi still talks about herself as an immigrant, an olah chadasha, but in truth when I see her chatting with her friends on campus, I can’t tell the difference.

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