Electrical Engineering Degree Prep

Sarah Ernst initiated a mentoring project for 1st year female undergrads to ease their way into the university. Thanks to the project she was awarded an Intel scholarship for the advancement of women in technology and hi-tech

One of the most frustrating experiences Sarah Ernst remembers from her early days as a freshmen undergrad was coping with a new array of terminology and phrases, especially in her programming class. “I felt the lecturers were speaking in tongues,” she recalls. “I applied to the course without having any programming background and was met with a bunch of technological terms I had never heard before. I was really struggling. So by the second school year, my friend Noam Korngot and myself decided to create a supportive framework for female students joining the Faculty of Engineering. It’s sort of a mentoring program, to ease them into their studies. We had a lot of support from the faculty administration, and during the first semester of that year, we held a monthly gathering with all the female freshmen. In addition to academic assistance with the programming class, which was a huge part of the project, there was a social element in the gatherings. We all got to know and befriend each other. It was like a pre-school. Pre-electrical engineering school…”

This project awarded Ernst (23), currently a 3rd year undergrad in the nano-electronics and bioengineering track, an Intel scholarship of excellence. “The scholarship is given for the incorporation of academic excellence and contribution to the advancement of women in technology and hi-tech,” says Ernst. “In addition to the monetary reward, Intel holds gatherings for all scholarship recipients, from all Israeli universities, and provides support and funding for organizing events to advance the scholarship’s objectives.”

Accordingly, Ernst joined forces with Shani Heisler, another scholarship winner from the Faculty of Engineering, and together they organized a career orientation event for all female students of the faculty (“All male students were invited as well!” notes Earnest). The event was conducted early in this year’s second semester was very well accepted. “It was a big success. The female students said they were given food for thought and that the event was very significant for them, as they were able to network both professionally and personally – as there were also computer science students in attendance.”