Technion hosts supporters, students


The St. Louis Chapter of the American Technion Society welcomed two Technion students and one professor, who spoke about their work at the esteemed university and their appreciation for the support the school has received from St. Louis and Jewish communities around the world.

At Westwood Country Club on Thursday evening, ATS supporters were able to meet doctoral candidates Nir Haimovich and Haneen Farah, and Marcelle Machluf, an associate professor at the Technion.

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The students and professor are traveling to six cities across the country to meet with local chapters of ATS.

Farah told the supporters that her work has focused on transportation safety. “With over 500 automobile fatalities each year — which is a lot for a country of only 7 million people — I wanted to see what I could do to help to prevent head-on collisions, which makes up 20 percent of traffic fatalities in Israel,” she said. Farah, who was born in Nazareth, said that especially in the north and south of Israel, roads are often two lanes.

Farah is currently in her final year of her doctorate at the Technion Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering’s Department of Transportation and Geo-Information.

Farah worked to develop tests that help researchers better understand drivers’ behavior, by creating a driving simulator, which measured test subjects’ reactions to changing driving conditions. The simulations and test data can give engineers better crash prediction models for transportation infrastructure.

Haimovich is a doctoral candidate in the Technion’s chemical engineering department. He said he decided to pursue his post-graduate studies during his eight-month recuperation from serious leg injuries he sustained while serving in the Israel Defense Forces.

After pursuing his master’s degree part-time, he rejoined the IDF. In 2006, he said he “decided that in order to seriously pursue my graduate studies, I had to look at it as a full-time job.”

So, he devoted himself to his studies and is currently working on his Ph.D. His research focuses on thermal battery modeling and design. He said thermal batteries are used in aerospace and military equipment that requires compact, high-power electrical capacity. Thermal batteries are used in fighter planes’ ejector seats, satellites, and guided missiles among others.

Both students said they were thankful for the assistance the school receives from donors around the world.

“I would like to thank you, each and every one of you, for helping people like me to discover what we can do. ,” Haimovich said.

June Wolff, president of the St. Louis Chapter of ATS, said the students’ stories emphasized the need for continued support of the school.

Wolff noted that professors at the Technion, which lacks the deep endowment of comparable U.S. universities, are producing world-class results.

“The professors who choose to work at the Technion.are producing amazing results, equivalent to any university, including Harvard University,” she said. “It’s because of people like you in this room who support these students and this professor and so many other people working and developing new things in Haifa. It’s because of support from people like us in the world that these people are able to show that Israeli people can make amazing contributions to the world as far as science and technology.”

To close, she thanked the visitors from the Technion.

“Thank you from all of us in the diaspora for making us very proud,” Wolff said.

Nationally, the American Technion Society has raised more than $1 billion for the Technion since its inception, according to Jack Cohen, the St. Louis Chapter’s director.

At the event, Wolff also announced that Diana Iskiwitch had been named vice president of the St. Louis Chapter of ATS.