One of the most powerful ways that the Springboard Fellowship makes an impact is by preparing participants for a lifetime of career success and connection to the Jewish community.
For Jacob Brickman, involvement in Hillel as an undergraduate led him to Springboard, which has laid the groundwork for him to flourish in his current role as the Jewish Education Coordinator at Hillel Western in London, Ontario. As a Western University alum, Jacob has been connected to the Hillel community there since he was a student. In 2021,as he finished his fifth year, Jacob wasn’t ready for graduate school quite yet, but was sure he wanted to do something meaningful.
The Springboard Fellowship turned out to be the perfect next step. Jacob dove right into his new community at Hillel Waterloo & Laurier, where he served more than 1,500 students. Working solo on the ground in Waterloo led Jacob to take on new responsibilities and helped him realize that he was interested in taking a larger leadership role in Hillel. His Springboard cohort helped him learn to be part of a team and to ask for help, and his Hillel mentor supported him in his growth as a professional.
Jacob credits the training he received through Springboard with helping him grow as a learner and an educator. Attending the Hillel International Global Assembly (HIGA) in 2022 had a huge impact on Jacob: Because of the pandemic, it was the first time his cohort had been able to meet the larger movement in person. He was able to meet with educators across Hillel, reflect on his experiences as a Fellow, and really decide how he wanted to use his last semester.
Since completing the Springboard Fellowship in 2023, Jacob has returned to his alma mater, where he infuses Judaism and learning into everything he does. Jacob focuses on learning fellowships and informal, experiential learning, bringing learning into all of his programming. Since October 7, Jacob has taken on more diverse responsibilities, including working with more than 40 student leaders, and programming during this difficult time for so many Jewish students.
Jacob’s time as a Springboard Fellow gave him a strong foundation that prepared him for the challenges of working in Jewish higher education. He’s still not sure what’s next for his career, but he knows that whatever he does, Hillel will always be his professional home.