Ilan Rado, Intel Involved Volunteer

Engineers from Intel Israel help math students and act as role models in high-tech careers.

In Israel, scores received on exams in multiple academic subjects determine a young person’s eligibility for employment and higher education. The futures of several students at Ironi Gimel High School in Haifa were uncertain because they had been unable to pass the math portion of the Israel Ministry of Education’s “Bagrut” exams.

That’s when 17 Intel engineers stepped in to make a difference.

Beyond their achievements, the students have a chance to meet people who contribute to the community and are role models to them.

“Contributing to the community is always a win-win for me,” says Ilan Rado, an engineer at Intel’s Design Center in Haifa, Israel. "The return I get in the form of satisfaction is very rewarding."

A volunteer project he initiated turned out to be especially rewarding for him and several other Intel engineers, and proved life-changing for a group of local high school students.

In 2013, Rado approached the local school board with the idea of helping students learn math. He was paired with a group of kids at Ironi Gimel High School who had all previously failed the “Bagrut” math exams required for high school graduation, college entrance, and professional careers. “Most of these kids came from mid-low socioeconomic backgrounds,” he says, adding that many also struggled with learning issues that required more attention than the school had the resources to provide.

Contributing to the community is always a win-win for me,” says Ilan Rado, an engineer at Intel’s Design Center in Haifa, Israel. "The return I get in the form of satisfaction is very rewarding.

 

Rado recruited 16 other Intel engineers, and they all began making regular visits to the school, where each volunteer worked with a group of two or three students. The program they implemented over the course of the school year—modeled after one that had previously been used by volunteers at an Intel Israel facility in Lachish—emphasized the creation of strong, personal bonds between the engineers and the students. “This played a significant role in the students' motivation,” says Rado, “and provided them with role models that are missing in many cases.”

In addition to weekly tutoring sessions, the volunteers hosted “math marathons” that included extra instruction as well as lunch and tours at the Intel Design Center. “We scheduled these visits a few days before their exams to boost [the students’] motivation,” says Rado. “Most of the kids had never seen such facilities, and it gave them the feeling they are special and important to us.”

The results were impressive: After failing their Bagrut math exams the previous year, 83.3 percent of the students passed after working with the Intel volunteers. In addition, many of the kids were inspired to find summer jobs. “This, for me,” says Rado, “indicates a real change in their mindset and a sense of responsibility, which is actually more important than their grades.”

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