Mara Berde knew she wanted to attend the William Davidson Graduate School of Jewish Education soon after she began her undergraduate studies at The Jewish Theological Seminary. When it was time for graduate school, she applied only to The Davidson School.
While she was a student in the dual-degree program at the Albert A. List College of Jewish Studies, Mara took an elective class through The Davidson School that changed her life. "Developmental Issues in Jewish Education for Adolescents taught by Dr. Aryeh Davidson made me realize that you can study Jewish Education as a career," she says. "I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life before taking this class, and it crystallized my career goals."
Once enrolled, Mara quickly found that the warm welcome from influential professors such as Dr. Davidson was the norm. "My Davidson classes have been phenomenal. The professors care about the students, and I have enjoyed getting to know them outside of the classroom and creating professional and personal connections that will last many years after I graduate," she says.
In addition to immersing herself in her classes as part of her concentration in Informal/Communal/Experiential (ICE) Education, Mara also served as the student representative on the Evaded Issues advisory committee, which provided "an incredible opportunity to train as an educator and meet some really great people within the field of Jewish education." She also joined the student-run EcoReps committee where she helped to spearhead JTS's green initiatives.
Since graduating from The Davidson School in May 2009, Mara has been planning her next journey, which will take her to Rwanda in December as a member of the Jewish Service Corps. There she will work as an informal educator for local children and oversee Jewish education for fellow Jewish Service Corps volunteers.
Though she has much to look forward to, Mara will always remember her time at JTS with fondness. As Mara wistfully says, "My experience at Davidson has been riveting and incredible. I'm really going to miss this place."