Springboard on the Street: Thoughts and Advice from Current Fellows to Future Fellows



January 25, 2023

Springboard Fellowship applications are open! As early career professionals start their Springboard journeys, we asked current Springboard fellows to share their experiences and advice for applicants and future fellows. 

Why did you apply for Springboard?

Shaina Morrel, Syracuse Hillel – Social Justice Fellow:  During college, I discovered  the intersections of Judaism and social justice, and I explored local non-profits like the Religious Action Center, Avodah, and Hazon, and participated in every social justice learning opportunity possible through my Hillel. I never thought that Jewish social justice work could actually be a career until college, and from that point on, I was hooked. When I found out about Springboard from the fellow at my Hillel, I knew it was the direction I wanted to take. It was a perfect and natural next step – combining the things I was most passionate about, and how I felt I could make a difference. I was drawn to the fellowship structure and having a cohort of peers and mentors. I loved the idea of working at Hillel and learning about the Jewish world from a new perspective. Thank goodness I applied because Springboard was what I was looking for. 

Olivia Rosenblum, Muhlenberg Hillel – Intrapraneurship Fellow: I started getting all of the “what are you doing after college” questions in the midst of the pandemic and being forced to slow down helped me realize I wanted to work with college students on leadership development and programming. So I started doing informational interviews with professionals on my campus. When I met with our Jewish Student Life Coordinator, she asked me if I had heard about the Springboard Fellowship. I remember telling her point blank that I did not want to be a Jewish professional, but she asked me to humor her and apply. So I did, and the more I learned about it, the more I was interested in the Fellowship. I was drawn to the cohort model which provides you with a brand new network of friends to support you through the successes and challenges of transitioning out of student life to the professional world.

LilyFish Gomberg, Vanderbilt Hillel – Ezra Jewish Education Fellow: I applied for the Springboard Fellowship as an opportunity to work in the Jewish community before attending Rabbinical school. I knew I wanted to go into Rabbinical school and Springboard is the perfect platform for me to develop professional skills before returning to school. 

Eli Hartman-Seeskin, Cohen Hillel at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – Innovation Fellow: I applied for Springboard because it allowed me to bring together the diverse skills I developed in college. This program offered me a chance to combine my video production experience, journalism training, Jewish studies degree, and interest in non-profits to do meaningful work on behalf of the Jewish community.

What do you hope to accomplish by participating in Springboard?

Shaina: As I enter my last semester as a Springboard Fellow, I can say that I have accomplished almost everything I had hoped to in this Fellowship. I have built lasting, meaningful, and transformative relationships with students. I created and led an 8-week Jewish social justice learning curriculum. I built up a vast network of community service opportunities. I fostered a culture of wellness, and so much more. I am excited and proud to have set the foundation for this work on my campus, AND I know there is so much more work to be done! So that’s why we need more Springboard fellows! None of us finish the work, but we all take part in the change in some way! 

Olivia:  I hope to make an impact in the lives of students the same way that my mentors and Hillel staff did for me! At this point in my first year I am already astounded by the growth of the student leaders that I  work with. I am also excited to continue to be a part of the programming staff and learn more about the field of student affairs. 

LilyFish: My Springboard capstone project is to develop a curriculum called Jewish Intimacy and Vulnerability, which is sexuality education combined with Jewish learning. Through the cohort, students are able to learn factually accurate information about their bodies and sexuality within the context of their Jewish values.

Eli: I hope that I will leave behind systems and programs that can be self-sustaining and helpful for students and future staff. My goal is to build structures to maximize the impact of my work beyond the 2 years of this fellowship.

What’s the best piece of advice that you could give to someone considering applying to Springboard?

Shaina:  Make sure that you listen to your heart throughout the campus matching process. As much as a Hillel is interviewing you, you are also interviewing them. You are trying to figure out if it is an environment you could see yourself living and working in for two years. That’s a big deal! It’s exciting to get matches and offers, but I would encourage you to not jump at the first thing that comes your way, but rather to reflect and listen to yourself about what really feels right. 

Olivia: Be yourself in every answer you give; the application and interviews are there to help match you with a best fit!

LilyFish: Springboard is what you make it!

Eli:  Know what you want going into interviews. If a campus wows you and you think you’d be a great fit, tell them that you want to be there! If after a first interview you couldn’t see yourself working directly under your interviewer every day for 2 years, trust that feeling too. And do your research on each campus and its staff before you interview with them; it shows you care.