Tal knows that it’s not going to be easy to find a job at the end of her degree, because she wants to work for a company that benefits the environment or develops life-saving medications. “Many chemical and biochemical companies are entirely focused on making a profit, but I want to find a job with an organization that is working on something really worthwhile. Like the project that I am currently working on at the Technion – inventing ways to make the world a better place.” Without giving away any secrets, Tal reveals that she is working on biofuels research, as part of a project to use less benzene and find more ecological alternative fuels. This is one of a number of cutting-edge projects taking place in the Technion laboratories, where Tal works for two days each week while completing her degree.
Tal has always enjoyed biological science. Already in middle school she chose to specialize in medical sciences, motivated by her dream to find a cure for cancer. Tal’s mother had died of cancer when she was just six years old.
At high school, Tal studied biology, chemistry and biotechnology on a combined biotechnology track. For her military service she was an EMT on an army base where she was responsible for running the emergency treatment clinic for two years. Applying to study biochemical engineering at the Technion was an obvious next step. Tal has one younger brother and lived until recently with him and her father in Haifa. “He was like a mother and father to me after Mum died, and he always encouraged me to work hard and get good grades so that I could fulfil my potential.”
Tal’s father is retired and not in a position to pay for her university tuition. She took a job as a security guard and tried to save enough money for her first year, with the intention of continuing to work nights during her degree. Fortunately, Tal was selected for a Moshal Scholarship and has not had to work day and night! “With hindsight I can see now that, without Moshal, I would not have managed to obtain a degree. My course has been much tougher than I thought it would be, and I would surely have dropped out if I was trying to support myself while studying.” “Moshal has helped me hugely. I use the study strategies that they taught us in my first year almost every day. I have a great support network among the 100 or so Moshal scholars at the Technion. We all help each other with course work and share notes and workbooks.”
“The Moshal support team has been amazing. Sometimes I called them just for encouragement, or because I needed to talk to someone about problems at university. They are always there to listen and support me. They calm me down when the pressure is too much for me, and they help me to stay focused on doing my best.”
Recently, Tal has been mentoring two younger students who are starting the same degree program through the Moshal ‘Big Sister’ program. “They ask me for advice about which courses they should take, and it feels great to be able to pay forward some of the assistance that I was given and help others to learn from the mistakes that I made!”
“The Moshal careers team has been helping me to find a job in biochemical engineering, but I have set them a tough challenge! Moshal has inspired me to want to do something with my life – not just look to after myself and my family but to contribute to society. Being a Moshal scholar has motivated me to do the best that I can, and I know that many of the other scholars feel the same. Not because we feel we owe anything to anyone, but because they have inspired us to want to make a difference in the world.”