Dr. Yifat Brill-Karniely loves the biophysics research she conducts at the Hebrew University — but the Teacher-Scholar program was a life-changer for her.
"Following my doctorate on the physical theories behind the biological properties of human cells, I immersed myself in my post-doc, investigating the use of physical insights for improving cancer therapies. However, I realized that, in addition to my scientific work, it was important for me to make a contribution to the community. I wanted to encourage young people to study math and science with enthusiasm, and to help them acquire academic ways of thinking. In this way, I would be expanding opportunities for them in the future. This program enables me to combine high school teaching with my lab research."
Yifat started her Teacher-Scholar training in 2016 and has been teaching mathematics at a large public high school ever since. What marks her out as an educator is the customized preparation she received that equipped her to deal with the ordinary challenges math teachers encounter, as well as ignite her pupils' passion for science. She prides herself on motivating those who struggle with math and boosting the abilities of the more advanced students. No less important for Yifat is to show them how math and science can be applicable to day-to-day life as well as to high-level research. For example, when teaching functions, she explained their major role in modelling systems from various fields such as physics, medicine, social science, and economics.
Yifat's success as a teacher is not limited to math; her students know she is an address for assistance in their other science studies. She played a vital part too in connecting her pupils with University mentors, a lab, and funding for their capstone science projects.
"I feel I have the best of both worlds. I have helped my students not only pass their math matriculation exam, but also understand the glory of scientific research."
Comments from her students, like "thanks to you, I received 99 on my exam," and "your round-the-clock support and creative ideas made all the difference," make her feel she has accomplished her mission.
"At the same time, this personal satisfaction gives me the energy to pursue my research in order to uncover the biophysical properties needed to achieve greater efficacy of cancer treatment."