"How Technion will help me reach outer space"

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Shenalie Fernando, who was one of 21 Lassonde students taking part in the Lassonde-Technion Summer Program, has written an article for Canadian Jewish News about her experiences.

A group of 21 Lassonde students travelled to Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa for a three-week intensive entrepreneurship program earlier this year.

The group learned entrepreneurial skills at Technion, visited startups in throughout Israel - including Haifa, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem - and turned their own ideas into start up ventures.

In the article, Shenalie, a space engineering student at Lassonde, explains why she wanted to visit the Start Up Nation, how it changed her perspective on entrepreneurship and what she plans to do next.

How Technion will help me reach outer space

I want to be an astronaut. That’s not an ambition that comes true for many of us. Only 11 Canadians have been to space, and only two of them have been women.

The next step on my journey to join them took me to Israel this past summer.

As a space engineering student at York University’s new Lassonde School of Engineering, I had the opportunity to spend three weeks at Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

It’s one of the best global universities for engineering and technology. It’s also one of the world’s top 10 entrepreneurial ecosystems surrounded by start-ups, high-tech firms and new ideas to solve big problems. I now know why they call Israel the start-up nation.

With 20 of my fellow students from the Lassonde School of Engineering, I embarked on a specially designed intensive entrepreneurship training program. We were based at Technion in Haifa and toured the country to visit start-ups in Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Herzliya. Along the way, we saw much more of Israel and immersed ourselves in a society that many of us read about in the newspapers, but too few of us get to experience first-hand.

Before I departed for Israel for my first visit to the country, family and friends asked me questions about why I was going. First, why does a future astronaut want to study entrepreneurship? Second, what can you learn in Israel that you can’t learn in Canada?

You can keep reading on the CJN website.

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