Or is from Tiberius, a small city on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, where her mother works as a kindergarten teacher. Her father has not been able to work for many years because of his chronic diabetes. She has three older siblings, a twin sister and one younger brother, so there have always been many mouths to feed.
At the age of 14, Or chose to join the special electronics track at her local high school. She was one of just four girls in a large group of boys, but she was determined to prove that she was just as talented with technology, if not better.
For her compulsory military service, Or was selected for the electronics division of the Israeli air force. She can’t really talk about what they worked on, but she made her decision based on this experience that she would prefer to specialize in hardware rather than software programming.
“I have always loved taking things apart and figuring out how they work, so technical studies always appealed to me. At the beginning it was tough, because girls are not brought up to be technical, but since I proved that women deserve to be taken seriously, I have encountered no barriers and received lots of support. It seems clear to me that electronics is the key to the future, particularly in Israel’s hi-tech economy. So many major international countries come here for their R&D development, and I would love to be part of that culture of invention and innovation.”
Or and her twin sister Keren both applied to and were accepted by ORT Braude College, but they were recommended for different scholarship programs. As a result, Or received a full scholarship which is three times the value of her sister’s grant. She also receives mentoring advice and support, and she is not committed to spending hours every week in volunteer work, as Keren does.
“I knew that our parents would not be able to help us financially, particularly since there are two of us, with a brother just one year younger. It was essential for me to find funding so that I could go to university and fulfil my dream. I am so grateful to Moshal for relieving me of the pressure of having to work to fund my studies. I see how hard it is for other students who have to find time for volunteering and also work in the evenings and on weekends to make ends meet. Receiving the scholarship from Moshal was really the best thing that could have happened to me.”
Or needed to find a work placement as part of her electrical engineering course, but she had the Moshal careers team behind her all the way. They sent her information about relevant opportunities and helped her to secure a great position at Intel, where she will start working part-time during her third year.
At the same time, Moshal also stepped in to help Or when she was struggling with her coursework. They persuaded the college to find her a mentor in the year above who could help her with subjects that she found challenging.
“For the past year I have been part of Moshal’s new mentoring program, giving assistance to a student in his first year, while at the same time being able to call on a third year student for advice myself. The Moshal Big Brother program is a great opportunity to pay it forward, because we understand the challenges that new students face, particularly if they are from disadvantaged backgrounds like we are. I wish there had been a Moshal Big Brother or Sister appointed for me, but at least I now have a way to contribute to the next generation of Moshal scholars at ORT Braude and make their lives easier.”