HIAS Immigration & Citizenship recently celebrated the accomplishments of their 2020 scholarship recipients at the annual HIAS Scholarship Recognition Night last June. Though in a new virtual format, the spirit of the event was as powerful as ever. The recipients were all articulate, incredibly accomplished and well-deserving of this support. Here are their stories.
Alex Satinsky is in his second year of graduate school at Midwestern University where he is pursuing a degree in osteopathic medicine. He first heard about the scholarship from his grandparents who read about the opportunity in a local Russian newspaper, but his family’s connection to HIAS goes back to 1979. Both of his parents immigrated separately to Chicago with the help of HIAS, which Alex said was an amazing experience. After leaving Russia, HIAS helped the family acclimate and set up their new life in America, assisting with education, housing and employment.
In his winning essay, Alex wrote about perseverance. He didn’t give up when he was first rejected from medical school, stayed focused upon acceptance and is working through the challenging curriculum at Midwestern University. He attributes this drive to his parent’s journey when they left their home with just a suitcase. They came to a country they had never been to, and overcame obstacles to provide for Alex and their family. “By having financial burdens lifted through this scholarship, I will be able to continue my family’s legacy of perseverance by focusing on becoming the best physician I can be,” Alex wrote. “Although I was not the one to have travelled thousands of miles to arrive in the United States, I simply would not be here if not for HIAS.”
Michael Levi is another recipient of the HIAS graduate scholarship. After being awarded the JVS Career & Employment scholarship as an undergrad, a member of the agency encouraged him to apply to for the HIAS scholarship after hearing his story.
Michael’s father came to Chicago from Cairo with the help of JUF. His father always spoke highly of the experience, and wished to give back to the place that “had done so much for him and showed him so much kindness,” Michael said.
Michael is currently enrolled in the dentistry program at Tufts University. As a third-year student, he will be entering the clinic this fall where he will get a hands-on learning experience. He hopes that when he graduates in 2022, he and his father will be able to visit Cairo together.
“At this time when there is so much uncertainty and instability in our world, we at HIAS have found strength in learning about our scholarship recipients’ commitment to their communities. We look forward to hearing about how they continue to strive toward tikkun olam – repairing the world – and are proud to play a role in helping them reach their goals,” said Jessica Shaffer, Director of HIAS Immigration & Citizenship.