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Academia Project made it possible for me

The 'Academia Project' graduate who wants to contribute back to the program which
made it all possible for him
First work trip to Africa (3rd year)
The story of Itzik Dahan starts in Beit She'an, a development town in northern Israel. Dahan, 31, received his B.Sc. in Electrical Engineering and Electronics from HIT in July 2015. Today he lives with his wife in Holon and works as a system engineer in Elbit Systems.The beginning of his academic road was not easy at all, mainly because of financial difficulties. He could not finance his studies.

"From a very early age I wanted to be a pilot" he recalls. "At school I had to choose a major and electronics was my first choice, of course, but since my grades were low, I was not accepted at first. This just made me fight harder and eventually with the help of my devoted mother who kept pushing me forward, We won and I was accepted. From here the attachment to this field only grew stronger.

Upon completing my long military service I've made some research and since my girlfriend at the time (my wife today) lived in Holon, I decided I wanted to be hear her and chose HIT. Another factor was the various job opportunities that exist in central Israel as opposed to its northern parts.

I come from a family where higher education was not common and therefore my decision to pursue it came as a surprise to many.

How did you learn about the "Academia Project?"

Since my parents could not afford to pay my tuition, I was concerned about my ability to study at all and started to look for financial aid programs.

I've consulted with the woman who was in charge of scholarships in my home town and when I've told her that I'm going to HIT she told me that she personally knows Michal Zecharia, who is in charge of this program, and that with "Academia project" I could have the gates of higher education opened for me after all.

My mission was to cross the first semester with good grades which I did.
1st. year student
What can you tell us about the "Academia Project" ?

To be a student in the Academia project means to be someone who is looked after and nurtured all the time. The first "treat" was a refresher course which was exactly what I needed, then since I've served 6 years in the army and needed to refresh my math etc. It was not easy but I was highly motivated.

In addition, I've received personal help from the best lecturers of HIT. I was able to go over the various topics which I did not understand perfectly. This was the period of time I've waited for all week long. The feeling that someone looks after me, that he cares and wants me to succeed was so great. It felt like one big family. I could call them at any given time and they were there for me, all the time.

There were tough times and better times and exams which I passed successfully and others that were less successful and there was a lot of pressure too, but throughout, the feeling that I'm being supported both academically and financially made it all look much more attainable.

It was at that point that I've realized that I will graduate!

The scholarship was full and for the duration of the studies (4 years) and the burden of financing was lift off my shoulders and that paved the way for my total concentration on school work.

4th year student- at his wedding
What are you doing today?

"Today I'm a system engineer working at "Elbit Systems". About 2 months ago I've received my first project as a leading engineer. I love my work and enjoy every day.

What are your future plans?

'I'm interested in higher technical management. In the future I see myself as a general manager of a successful hi-tech company. I hope to establish a start-up company and to turn it into an international corporation.

I owe this project so much, and am so glad that I have a chance to give something in return, therefore I've decided to donate my first salary as an engineer to the "Academia Project" and to give another student the chance I was given.