By: Jeff J. Ohana  | 

Bar Ilan/YU Science Summer Program Rumored to Be Shutting Down

The Bar Ilan-Yeshiva University Summer Science Research Internship Program offers the opportunity to Yeshiva College and Stern College students to gain research experience in the advanced research laboratories of Bar Ilan's Life Science, Exact Science, or Engineering Faculties. The accepted science major applicants have the chance to take part in the research with a science faculty member from Bar Ilan University.

Despite the huge success of the Summer 2014 program, it is unsure whether the program will be continued in Summer 2015. For the moment, all that is certain that no application are currently being accepted for Summer 2015; the application process should have been opened before February. The students of a physics professor at Yeshiva University have similarly reported that their teacher told them about the high probable closure of the program. The head of the program, Dr. Ari Zivotofsky, was contacted by The Commentator, but he responded that there is no official decision yet regarding the program for Summer 2015.

Past Experience of YU Students on the Program

The BIU-YU Summer Science Research Internship had always been seen by the Yeshiva College and Stern College undergraduates as a great summer internship opportunity. In fact, from Summer 2011 to Summer 2014, the program attracted dozens of YU students. Each summer was a huge success.

Chaim Metzger, a YC student, spent seven weeks doing research in Israel last summer. He appreciated being offered the chance to reside in Jerusalem in a YU dorm (the Bayit Vegan campus is opened for participants), where there is an active beit midrash. Even during the summer, he had the chance to combine Torah and science. Also, he enjoyed doing research in physics with Dr. Aviad Frydman, a professor in physics at Bar Ilan. In addition to the serious research environment, some hours were scheduled for relaxation when the students could play ping-pong, make jokes, and share their research experiences. His research mentor, Dr. Frydman, invited Metzger to spend shabbat at his home creating a nice relationship between them.

Possible Reasons for Ending the Program

The program seems to be a big success. For four summers now, YU students and the faculty members of Bar Ilan enjoyed working together. Each year, the program was flush with YU students. Nevertheless. it appears that the program will not reopen for the Summer 2015. Among the reasons for the program’s end, YU’s finances, which have suffered in recent months, may feel the pinch with regards to the financial aspect of the program. Indeed, YU has to cover the housing, transportation, and food for the students, for seven weeks. Some have posited that the faculty members of Bar Ilan University involved in the program no longer have the time to mentor a research assistant during the whole summer. Faculty members often are required to monitor the work of their research assistants, teach them research procedures, and eventually write letters of recommendations for them.

All in all, the Bar Ilan/YU Science Summer Program may close its doors for this upcoming summer. If the program closes definitely, YU students will lose a unique opportunity to do summer research in Israel, in a wonderful environment.

As some consolation, Yeshiva University offers other opportunities to its undergraduates to do research in the field of science. Yeshiva College faculty members often recruit some students to take an active part in their researches. In addition, YU organizes a similar summer undergraduate research program at Einstein, its affiliated medical school.