Meet New Staff at The David Project!

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The David Project is so excited to welcome two new Campus Coordinators, Maddi Jackson and Juan Gilces, to our staff. I was lucky enough to catch up with them during their very busy training week to ask them some questions. Read on to hear all about the newest additions to The David Project team!  

 

 

 

 

Name: Maddi Jackson

Position: Campus Coordinator

Q: Where are you from?

A: Cincinnati, but I moved around Ohio a lot growing up.

Q: What school did you go to?

A: THE Ohio State University.

Q: What were you involved with on campus?

A: I was part of the Mount Leadership Society, a scholar program and educational community based on leadership and volunteering. I served as an Undergraduate Student Government Senator for one year, I was involved in College Republicans, and I was on the Buckeyes for Israel Leadership Board.

Q: What was your first connection to Israel?

A: My first connection to Israel was through my high school German teacher. She was 25 and a friend, as well as a teacher. Senior year, my teacher told me she was moving to Israel to marry her boyfriend who was in the Israeli Defense Force. I was worried that she was going to be unsafe because all I knew about Israel was what was on the news. Now, when we would hang out after school, we began to talk about Israel. She told me she was moving to Tel Aviv, that she would be safe, and she calmed me down and normalized Israel for me. After my teacher moved, I began to follow the news closely to check that she was okay. She represented the beginning of learning about and discovering Israel for me. Then I met other people in college who had interest in Israel and I developed my own connection and passion. I fell in love with Israel on my own when I went on Israel Uncovered, and I was also able to visit my teacher while on the trip.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Israel?

A: The people. Before, I couldn’t figure out why I loved Israel so much and now have finally figured out that it is the people. Everyone, whether it be my tour guide, Yoav, from Israel Uncovered, or Frau, my German teacher who made aaliyah, everyone has a story and an amazing history and a family connection.

Q: What are some things you are looking forward to as a Campus Coordinator?

A: I am so excited to meet the students and fellows. I was a Campus Leader, Student Advocate, and intern for The David Project, and now I am here! My favorite part of working on campus as a student was recruiting for Israel Uncovered and I am excited to see that process from a different perspective. I am looking forward to meeting with Campus Leaders for orientation and getting them excited and then actually going on the trip. It’s an exciting time!

Q: Tell us one fun fact about you!

A: I am scared of birds because I was attacked by a peacock in first grade.

 

Name: Juan Gilces

Position: Campus Coordinator

Q: Where are you from?

A: Miami, Florida, but I was born in Ecuador (I have dual citizenship).

Q: What school did you go to?

A: Florida International University, go Panthers!

Q: What were you involved with on campus?

A: I was a Resident Assistant for Housing and Residential Life and the Vice President of Student Government Association. I was the founding father for my school’s ZBT chapter, a member of the Shalom FIU Board, and a member of Hillel and Chabad. I was also a Sinai Society Scholar.

Q: What was your first connection to Israel?

A: I went to Israel in 2012, when I was 17, as a volunteer on an Israeli Defense Force base, through the Sar-el program. I went as a volunteer and got to experience life as an Israeli would, going into the army. This connected me to the average soldier and day-to-day living of Israelis. I valued the commitment Israelis have for their country and I learned the values and cultures of the country. I grew as a person and learned how important it is to advocate for Israel.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Israel?

A: On my last visit to Israel, I went to a hospital treating Syrians and talked to Syrians who were affected by war and asked them the same question. Their answer was: humanity. They were receiving medical treatment from a country with whom they were at war. I agree with that answer.

Q: What do you think about Boston so far?

A: Boston has been great! I really like the people here, they are friendly and open-minded. And the weather has been nice, for now…

Q: What are some things you are excited for as a Campus Coordinator?

A: I am really excited to meet students and professionals and to become a resource to my campuses. I want to help students think about Israel for themselves and create their own Israel story.

Q: Tell us one fun fact about you!

A: I have twenty-four first cousins and my favorite color is blue.