Hitting the Ground Running at The David Project
Tatiana Hasson joined The David Project team in January of 2015, after graduating from the University of Maryland with a B.S. in Community Health. Prior to studying at Maryland, Tatiana spent a post high school gap year in Israel studying, traveling, and volunteering. By joining The David Project team, Tatiana is excited to continue to help students connect with others, support advocacy efforts, and enhance the connection to Israel for students across different campuses.
If I were to describe the beginning of my work at The David Project, I would say that it has been exciting, overwhelming, but most importantly eye-opening. I have had the opportunity to meet so many people, with extremely diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and connections to Israel. As I officially joined The David Project Campus team around the time that semesters on campus were just beginning, I had to delve right into working with students, professionals, and my co-workers. This reality presented itself as simultaneously daunting and exhilarating, as I was still in the process of acquainting myself to the “ins” of being a David Project campus coordinator.
However, upon my first visit to campus, those occasional feelings were overshadowed by the excitement, inspiration and motivation of being on campus. After three days of being in the office, I was already on my way to visit my campuses in the South Florida region! Accompanied by Alexie, my campus manager, I visited FIU, FAU, and UMiami. As our days were packed with group and individual meetings, I met incredible people along the way. Every student advocate, campus leader, or Hillel staff member that I met with had a different, unique story and connection to Israel. Meeting with each student, I got the chance to get to know him or her personally and hear about how they got connected to The David Project.
While some individuals have always been strongly involved with Judaism and/or Israel, and are taking this opportunity to share their passion with others on campus, other non-Jewish student advocates have taken it upon themselves to explore their connections to Israel. It was exactly these interactions and conversations with the students that made me realize the importance and meaningfulness of the work I was newly embarking upon.
Israel is my passion that I wish to share with others. After my gap year in Israel I wanted to stay in Israel and enlist in the army. I wanted to give back to my country and embrace my love for Israel. Given various circumstances that turned out not to be possible, and while initially I was extremely upset, I realized that I had a purpose during my years in college. That purpose and job is to share my love for Israel with other students. I had the opportunity to meet others, engage in discussion, share with them experiences, and simply cultivate strong relationships in order to serve as that model and resource. Upon graduating college, I wanted to continue to advocate for Israel, embrace my connection to Israel, and empower others to do the same.
Despite my already deeply-rooted connection to Israel, the conversations I have had with the students I meet on campus re-invigorated my passion, values, and motivation to advocate for Israel. Some students remind me much of myself when I was a student on campus. Others have gone out of their “comfort zone” to make Israel a part of their life. My first weeks on the job, visits to campuses, and conversations with students confirmed that my work at The David Project will indeed help me fulfill my desire to advocate for Israel.