Gabriella's Story


After moving to New York from Israel as a teen, and transitioning from a yeshiva to public school, I knew I missed the Jewish studies I had growing up. YU’s dual curriculum and Mechina Program (for students without a strong religious studies background) was perfect for me. I really enjoyed getting to know Prof. Schechter and Rabbi Hajioff. The program had a strong focus on life lessons, learning about being a good person and a good Jew.

One of the things that makes YU so special is the professors. Drs. Harvey Babich and Monica Smiddy were instrumental in my career path. Both were amazing teachers and took personal interests in me. I always liked Biology, and now I love it. It was through Dr. Babich that I found the biology research position I have now at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai.

Between my junior and senior years, I shadowed Dr. Smiddy (who was my anatomy instructor at Stern College for Women) at the NYC chief medical examiner’s office, where she is a forensic pathologist. I was able to assist with autopsies and toxicology, which confirmed for me that I want to go into medicine. I also published an article on medical ethics in Stern College for Women’s Derech HaTeva, a journal of science and Torah.

For high school students thinking about where they want to go to college, I would tell you YU is a very safe place to be who you are and pursue whatever you want to do. It’s amazing to be part of this community.