Soha Jiryes is a third year undergraduate in the chemistry department, with a minor in education. She grew up in Kafr Yasif in northern Israel, one of 4 siblings. Her father is in a wheelchair and relies heavily on her mother, so Soha and her siblings began working at an early age.
Chemistry had always had an allure, and she was excited to be accepted to the Hebrew University’s program. She received a phone call from the Unit for Equal Opportunities (UEO) for Arab Students, within the Dean of Students Office, informing her she’d been awarded a scholarship for a preparatory program in English. Soha was excited to begin her academic journey!
Soha knew she’d have to work to cover tuition and living expenses, and assumed that she could make up any classes she missed in time for exams. But it was harder than she thought. She reached out to Basma Kasis, Coordinator for Arab Students Affairs at the UEO. Basma arranged for extra tutoring and helped Soha apply for scholarships.
Unfortunately, Soha still ended up failing a few classes. While according to University regulations, Soha should have been put on academic probation or expelled, Basma helped her appeal and Soha remained enrolled. Basma put Soha in touch with various people within the University who could help her achieve success.
Today, Soha is in her final year and will graduate with a BSc in chemistry and a teaching certificate. She’s proud of herself but admits, “I didn’t do it by myself. I’m here thanks to Basma and her team.” She adds, “My grades even improved beyond my wildest expectations.”
Soha is extremely thankful for the assistance she received, and now tutors second-year students in chemistry through the UEO, as well as in organic chemistry.
Looking forward, Soha wants to pursue a graduate degree in chemistry and/or education.
“I help these students from the bottom of my heart. After receiving so much support from others, I’m glad I can help other students. ... “I want to pass on the love that I received, for free, to others. I want to help as many students as I can throughout my life.”