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November 18, 2010 - Image 50

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2010-11-18

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

feature

by Noam Saper

in the lab

Teen studies with scientists
at the Technion in Haifa.

W

hen my friends ask me
how I spent my summer
vacation, I reply, "I went
on an Israel program." People assume
I participated in a typical touring pro-
gram; when they hear I spent the sum-
mer at an Israeli university engaged in
scientific study and writing a research
paper based on my laboratory work,
they think I am crazy.
Years after my family's sabbatical
in Israel, I had planned to return on a
summer program during high school.
I began searching for a program that
would satisfy my desire to go to Israel
while allowing me to pursue my in-
tense passion for science.
I decided to participate in SciTech,
a youth research program at the Tech-
nion-Israel Institute of Technology
in Haifa. My 38 fellow participants
came from Israel, the United States,
England, Canada and even Serbia.
Despite our cultural differences, we
shared a love of science.

Noam Saper In the lab at the Technion In Haifa, where he studied photochemistry.

For five weeks, we spent almost
every day working in laboratories. I
worked with another SciTech student
and three Technion scientists whose
discipline is crystallography, the sci-
ence of determining the three-dimen-
sional structures of molecules through
studying crystals.
I worked specifically on the proj-
ect, "Photochemistry of Inclusion
Compounds in the Solid-State."
I was studying the photochemistry
(reactions that occur under light) of
special crystals I synthesized. These
were crystals of molecules called in-

clusion compounds. I used a tech-
nique called X-ray diffraction to
study their crystalline structures. Af-
ter exposure to UV light, a change in
the crystal packing of the molecules
could be observed. The main goal
of this project was more to study the
pure chemistry behind the reactions.
To conclude the program, I wrote
a formal paper discussing my group's
results, received first place in a post-
er presentation for my research and
gave an oral presentation to my peers.
My friends are still surprised I
spend five weeks in an Israeli sci-

ence lab instead of on a beach. But
the SciTech program did have a social
component. We hiked all over Israel
and took weekend or day trips to Je-
rusalem and Tel Aviv. On nights off,
we explored Haifa or just hung out.
We also had access to the Technion's
pool, gym and restaurants.
Overall, SciTech was everything
I could have hoped for and more.
I would strongly recommend this
program to any student who is pas-
sionate about science, technology or
engineering. Conducting research in
an actual laboratory gave me a con-
nection to chemistry. I love the idea
that I could make a discovery no one
else has ever made before.
I am now confident that I want
to pursue my passion for chemistry
through coursework and future re-
search in a laboratory. I enjoy think-
ing that my research might someday
make a difference for other people. { }

Noam Saper, 17, is a

senior at Frankel

Jewish Academy In

West Bloomfield.

supporting Israel

by Polina Fradkin

learning to
advocate

AIPAC summit provides
teens with skills to stand
with Israel.

I

never knew I was going to become
an Israel advocate. To be honest,
I didn't even know what being an
advocate meant. In fact, I was sure that
whatever advocacy was, it was not in
my future.
But then, as a member of the
Frankel Zionists at Frankel Jewish
Academy in West Bloomfield, I had
the opportunity to attend an AIPAC
(American Israel Public Affairs Com-
mittee) Schusterman Advocacy Insti-
tute High School Summit Oct. 3-5 in
Washington, U.C. Out of sheer curios-
ity, I decided to attend.
During the summit, we met many of

TT2 teen2teen November 18.2010

nearly 500 delegates (including many
from local BBYO chapters), attended
workshops and seminars and played
Jewish geography like there was no to-
morrow. It still is a mystery to me how
AIPAC managed to pack such a vast
array of advocacy skills workshops,
political activism classes and lobbying
appointments on Capitol Hill into a
three-day summit.
And let's not forget the special
guest appearances, including Miss
Utah! Who knew she was an Israel ad-
vocate? We even had a concert. (Props
Lisa Gilan, FJA student life director,
for introducing the band!)
Looking back on the trip, Rigel Ja-
nette of New Haven, Ct., said, "AIPAC
hosted a fantastic [conference], with
amazing speakers who taught me
things that I don't think I can get any-
where else."
The day the AIPAC summit ended
was the day a new experience began. I

FJA delegation: back row, Justin Keiman, Josh

Sider, Jesse Medina, Isaac Kurzmann; middle

row, Marc Silberstein, Mallory Tyner, Freya

Gothelf, Polina Fradkln; front row, Annie Ja-

cobson, Rachel Klein, Tamar Brown, Rebecca

Millman

wanted everyone, including the opin-
ionated flight attendant on our flight
back to Detroit as well as the curious
elderly man sitting next to me on the
plane, to know what AIPAC was and
what it stands for.
"Not only is AIPAC's high school

summit a great way to learn about re-
lations between America and Israel,
but it's also an amazing opportunity
to [learn how to] do something with
that knowledge," said Josh Morof, a
junior at Bloomfield Hills Andover
High School, who attended last year's
AIPAC summit.
I never knew I would become an
Israel advocate, but here I am. AIPAC
has merely cracked open the door of
Israeli affairs studies; it is now my job
to advance my knowledge and then
educate others. There's no telling what
the delegates and I will do in the fu-
ture, but the experience at AIPAC will
surely have influence on the rest of our
lives.

Polina Fradkln, 16, is a

junior at Frankel

Jewish Academy in
West Bloomfield.

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