Jewish High Schools Create Hundreds of Young Engineers Third Annual CIJE Young Engineers Conference


On May 18, Tarbut V’Torah High School in Irvine, hosted the third Annual CIJE Young Engineers Conference. Several hundred students from southern California Jewish high schools attended the event. On view were a variety of innovative, working projects. A number of the designs were focused on California’s water crisis and addressed the issue of conservation around the home. Other ideas included medicine dispensers and self-tying shoes. Electronic and biomedical innovations of all types were on display.

Projects were required to have some socially redeeming value and student solutions included a variety of robots and sophisticated electronic products. The projects fostered teamwork, problem solving and electronic engineering skills taught as part of the CIJE-Tech High School Engineering STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) based curriculum.

Thirteen Jewish high schools across the denominational spectrum offer CIJE’s pioneering high school engineering program which is taught as CIJE-Tech. In addition to Tarbut V’Torah Jewish the other participating schools included Mesivta Birkas Yitzchok (Los Angeles); New Community Jewish High School (West Hills); Shalhevet High School (Los Angeles); San Diego Jewish Academy (San Diego); Valley Torah High Schools (Boys & Girls) (Valley Village) and Yeshiva High Tech (Los Angeles) and Yeshiva University of Los Angeles High Schools (Boys & Girls).

Henry Roland and Elliot Freeman, New Community Jewish High School

Henry Roland and Elliot Freeman, New Community Jewish High School

“These student teams have created some impressive solutions to real world problems using the engineering principles they’ve learned throughout the year,” explained Judy Lebovits, Vice President and Director of CIJE. “We are preparing students for future careers and providing the necessary skills to compete and work collaboratively.”

Parmis Fakheri, Celine Mansoory, Batsheva Berkowitz and Laura Nickowitz are 10th graders at Valley Torah High School for Girls. They developed a unique solution to encourage people with bad posture to sit up straight. Their invention vibrates with an electronic sensor when activated by poor posture. Called The Posture Patch, this was one of the hundreds of projects displayed at the conference. Valley Torah Principal Shandi Gross explained, “I think that this program is going to encourage students, teachers and administrators and that it should be a springboard for more. Perhaps it will encourage more students to pursue engineering.”

CIJE-TECH is a discovery-focused, interactive curriculum which provides a year-long program for scientific research and another year on biomedical engineering. The vibrant program exposes students to a diverse range of science and technical knowledge areas while helping develop multidisciplinary and abstract thinking as well as leadership and teamwork skills. The CIJE Tech enrichment program provides stimulating research projects, mind-bending math problems and puzzles that challenge students to reason, explore and calculate. CIJE also provides on-going teacher mentoring as well as science laboratory equipment and materials.

“California schools are offering a truly exceptional STEM curriculum based on our CIJE-Tech program, which is now offered in close to 40 schools nationwide,” explained CIJE president Jason Cury. “We congratulate each of the teams for the creativity and hard work that ware exhibited in each of their submissions.”

The Center for Initiatives in Jewish Education (CIJE) strengthens and enriches education in U.S., Jewish schools across the denominational spectrum. CIJE currently provides funding for programs at 150 schools nationwide including advanced technology, engaging curricula, teacher training and vital support in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) subjects. Since 2001, CIJE has built 100 computer laboratories, 25 state-of-the-art science laboratories and donated more than 500 smart boards.

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