Ana Benitez, born and raised in Siguatepeque, a small town in central Honduras, is the youngest of four siblings. Her parents have always been strong proponents of education and environmental preservation, saying that it’s the best inheritance they could give to their children. When it came time to select a path, Ana chose to pursue her passion, earning a degree in Environmental Sciences and Development at Zamorano University.
After graduating, Ana was looking for opportunities abroad when she came across the International School of Agricultural Sciences. She is now at the end of her second year, working towards a Master’s in Environmental Quality Sciences.
"One thing I love about Israel is how my professors, no matter their degree of expertise, are accessible and humble with their knowledge. They show an interest in my learning and encourage me to ask questions and share my opinions. My advisor, Prof. Emeritus Dr. Shlomo Nir has even invited me to his home for holidays, sharing his family’s traditions with me."
Ana’s research focuses on how to optimize the use of granulated micelle-clay complexes to remove bacteria and non-ionic herbicides from water, with the potential to positively impact both public health and the environment.
Looking forward, Ana hopes to continue to doctoral studies focused on water purification, and to apply in practical ways what she has learned upon returning to Honduras.
The Coronavirus Shutdown
It was hard for Ana being so far from her family during this period of extreme uncertainty. Yet through daily phone calls home, Ana realized that staying in Israel was the best decision. She was also able to proceed with her research with no disturbance.
Prof. Nir called and emailed Ana on a daily basis to check in and report progress on their paper – which was published during the shutdown! Prof. Nir even brought Ana special holiday dishes over Passover, and the International School staff also provided students with a listening ear and ensured they were up-to-date on the regulations.
In addition, being on campus helped Ana meet new people, including Israeli and international students whom she wouldn’t have otherwise met.