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Our JFEW Scholars impress us endlessly with their ambition and drive. Their creativity and tenacity are an inspiration, and we are so proud to celebrate their stories and successes. If you are a current JFEW Scholar and would like to share your recent accomplishments, please email us at info (at) jfew (dot) org!


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Top tags: Binghamton University  New York City College of Technology  Stern College  Stony Brook University  SUNY Geneseo  City Tech  Baruch College  Hunter College  SUNY International Relations Scholar  College of Staten Island  JFEW Roosevelt House Scholars  Leadership and Career Development Scholars  Queens College  UJA CUNY Hillels Program 

Congratulations to our Scholar, Elianny!

Posted By Jamie Spence, Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2018


JFEW Scholar Elianny Espinal just graduated from Stony Brook University! Elianny was a Psychology and Theater Arts double major, and a Creative Writing and Literature minor. She was awarded the Larry Roher Entrepenurial Achievement Award during her time at Stony Brook, for her incredible achievements serving in a leadership role on her campus. She was recognized for establishing The Voice of the Diaspora, which is an initiative created to showcase the art of immigrants. 

In addition to her recognized achievements, Elianny also wrote and directed her own play, and studied abroad for a semester in Florence, Italy. She says of her experience abroad, "I found myself and some pieces that were missing, I learned about another culture and its politics, I learned about my second home away from home; it truly changed my life." Elianny says that her experiences at Stony Brook allowed her to truly live every day to the fullest.

Congratulations, Elianny! 

Tags:  Stony Brook University 

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Congratulations to JFEW/SUNY graduate, Erika!

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, June 11, 2018


Our JFEW Scholar Erika Esquivel recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo! During her time at Geneseo she was honored at the annual Leadership Awards and Recognition Ceremony where she was recognized for her outstanding contributions to the campus community. 

Erika gave us some advice for incoming freshman. She says, "The most meaningful lesson I learned at SUNY Geneseo was to always shoot your shot. You have to take a chance and open doors for yourself, don't expect a door to open on it's own." 

Congratulations on your accomplishments, Erika! We can't wait to see where you'll go next. 

Tags:  SUNY Geneseo 

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Congratulations to our JFEW/SUNY Scholar, Druzell

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, June 11, 2018


JFEW Scholar Druzell Smith recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo! Druzell says that her experiences at Geneseo completely pushed her out of her comfort zone because she was so far away from home. She says of her experience, "College was a completely different ball game; every class, professor, and semester brought a new and different challenge. If there was one thing I wish I knew [freshman year] it would be that the people around you could be your biggest support. Don’t be afraid to talk to your professors and get advice from them. Talk to your peers and see what they are doing to be successful. Get help if needed and if and when you fall just remember that the most important thing is to get up dust yourself off and keep going." 

Druzell says that her most proud accomplishment while at Geneseo was starting the Give Back Book Drive on campus. She had the idea for the book drive her Junior year after realizing how many old textbooks she still had that were in good shape. She realized that if she created a place where people could donate their old books for future students to utilize she could greatly help fellow students and peers who might struggle to afford their textbooks each semester. She says, "The program was one of my most meaningful accomplishments because there were times when I struggled to obtain my textbooks. I am happy that I was able to do something that would help people for years to come. My advice would be to try and make a difference, whether big or small do something that will help those around you." 

Druzell, you are an inspiration to us all! 


Tags:  SUNY Geneseo 

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Congratulations to our graduate, Lydia

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, June 11, 2018
Updated: Wednesday, June 13, 2018


JFEW Scholar Lydia Senatus recently graduated from Stony Brook University! Lydia graduated with a degree in Economics after deciding to make a switch from Health Sciences after her freshman year, and she says that her decision to switch to a major that she truly enjoyed was one of the best decisions she made in college.

While in school, Lydia worked as a peer mentor to assist fellow students and peers in applying to college scholarships. Every semester she hosted writing workshops to assist students in making their applications much stronger, and improving their ability to fund their education. She says of her experience, "I think the most important part of creating a legacy is not what you as an individual have accomplished, but rather how you have helped other people with their accomplishments."

Lydia, we are so inspired by your tenacity and drive, and we can't wait to see what is next for you! 

Tags:  Stony Brook University 

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Congratulations to JFEW/SUNY graduate, Allyson!

Posted By Jamie Spence, Tuesday, May 22, 2018


Our JFEW/SUNY Scholar Allyson Schmelzer recently graduated from SUNY Geneseo! We asked her a few questions, so that she could share some of her wisdom:


What was the most meaningful lesson that you learned while in college? "The most meaningful lesson I learned in college is that knowledge truly is power and every experience and opportunity you can take advantage of, you should. Never be afraid to put yourself out there and always work hard to try and achieve your goals."

What do you wish that you knew when you were a freshman? "I wish I had known that it is okay to make mistakes and it is okay to put yourself out of your comfort zone. This is how you become a stronger person both academically and personally."

What was your most proud accomplishment during your time in college? "My most proud accomplishment during my college career is hard to determine, I have had many moments that made me proud of myself. One of the big ones would be getting accepted into the JFEW SUNY program."


We are so proud of you Allyson, and we can't wait to see where you'll go next!

Tags:  SUNY Geneseo 

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JFEW Scholar Elana Apfelbaum is hosting STEM events on her campus

Posted By Jamie Spence, Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Updated: Thursday, May 3, 2018


Elana is a Junior at Stern College for Women and a double major in Biochemistry and Computer Science. This past fall she participated in the Yeshiva University hackathon where she had the opportunity to engage with, and meet other computer science students. She says she was extremely impressed by how much they were able to accomplish in 24 hours by collaborating together. Because of her experience, she was inspired to organize an all-women's hackathon event at Stern College to help bring confidence to her female STEM peers and encourage them to get involved. She says, "By making the event more accessible to all levels, I hope to inspire others to participate in future hackathons."

Additionally, Elana is also on the board of the Computer Science club at Stern, where she helps to plan events such as the hackathon, and is a co-editor of Derech HaTeva, which is a bible and science journal at Stern. Elana was also recently invited to compete in the Google Games computer science competition where she and her teammates worked to solve a variety of puzzle games.

We are so impressed with Elana's passion for the STEM field!

Tags:  Stern College 

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Check out our JFEW/SUNY Scholar Tamar Ashdot

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, April 16, 2018
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2018


Tamar, a senior and double major in English and Judaic Studies at Binghamton University debuted a photo exhibition titled, "With Love, From Rosario". Last summer, Tamar was given the opportunity to travel to Rosario, Argentina as a Harpur Fellow to volunteer as a teaching assistant. She says she was able to make connections with people and examine Jewish culture through community service.


Check out this wonderful article about her experiences in Argentina and the photo exhibition that she put together upon her return.

Tags:  Binghamton University 

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JFEW Scholar Brianna Ferranti radiates optimism

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, March 5, 2018
Updated: Monday, June 11, 2018


Brianna, a senior at Queens College studying to be a medical speech pathologist, has decided that she is fed up with all of the negativity in the news and politics of today. She says, “If I’m being honest, I can’t hear any more of it. I felt like I needed to take people’s minds off what is going on right now.”

Brianna spent this past December organizing a Christmas toy drive. She collected more than 300 toys that were brought to Cohen Children’s Medical Center and Saint Mary’s Hospital for Children. Afterwards, she was overcome with the amount of love and support that she had received and she decided to turn her event into a philanthropic club. Brianna launched the Facebook group Acts of Kindness, that is dedicated to organizing two giving events per year with a mission to spread love and hope to those in need. Currently, she is working on an Easter basket drive that will be given out to the homeless and needy community in New York City this April.

We are so proud and inspired by the amazing work Brianna is doing to bring love and hope to her community. Like Brianna, JFEW believes that acts of kindness can change the world!


** Please follow and like Brianna's Facebook page, Acts of Kindness to get involved or donate a toy!

Tags:  Queens College 

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JFEW Scholar Vera Pertsovskaya is a stellar student-athlete

Posted By Jamie Spence, Wednesday, November 29, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, March 13, 2018


Vera is a member of the Hunter College Women’s Cross Country, Indoor, and Outdoor Track & Field Teams, as well as a Biology and German major. She uses cross country and track as a way to organize her busy schedule, and she says, "you have to be self-motivated and disciplined if you want to do well."

In addition to being a scholar-athlete, Vera is a Democracy Coach for the Generation Citizen program where she works with 11th graders in the Bronx. Vera believes it is important for young people to be a part of the decisions being made in Albany and Washington, D.C., and her goal is to help students solve the critical issues their communities are facing. Her current class is focusing on a way to implement more college scholarship opportunities for low-income students. 

This summer she had the opportunity to intern with the NYC Health and Hospitals Division of Correctional Health Services. While there, she assisted in defining a utility value of incarceration for individuals in New York City's jails. Vera says, "This experience gave me an understanding of the health care available to New York City’s incarcerated population, and also led me to consider a career in social medicine.”

Vera, we can’t wait to see what you will accomplish next!

Tags:  Hunter College 

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Meet our Scholar, Talia Sanieoff

Posted By Jamie Spence, Monday, November 20, 2017
Updated: Monday, May 7, 2018


Talia is a senior at Stern College studying biology, and she is an active member in a variety of clubs. She is currently the president of the Yeshiva University Sharsheret Club, which is dedicated to funding research to find a cure for cancer. Talia said she was initially drawn to the club because of the enormous presence that it has on Sterns’s campus, and since joining she has been inspired by the work they are doing. As president, she is beginning to prepare for the club’s major event, Cake Wars, which will be held this February. The event brings in around 300 to 400 people annually!

In addition, Talia is also a member of START Science, which is a club at Stern that seeks to get younger children excited about learning science. As a member, Talia makes trips to public schools in the area to teach and inspire younger students to get involved in her passion.

Talia will graduate from Stern this spring, and is planning on applying to physician’s assistant programs. Good luck, Talia!


** Talia is pictured here with her friend, and fellow JFEW Scholar, Tzip Roffe!

Tags:  Stern College 

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