Opportunities for Exploration are Fundamental

Tzipor Ulman, founder and Executive Director of Science is Elementary

Tzipor Ulman, founder and Executive Director of Science is Elementary

If Tzipor Ulman, PhD (CAS ‘94)  could impart one piece of advice to CWRU students it would be to “explore as many things as possible, because career trajectories are rarely linear and we don’t know where we will end up; such exploration can lead to a hobby or you can tie together several or more interests and make it a career.”

It was exploration and the opportunity for self-discovery that Tzipor remembers most fondly about her time as an undergraduate studying Chemistry at CWRU. In the classroom, the hands-on experience as a research assistant in two research labs, the opportunity to interact with diverse peers, and the collaborative spirit she witnessed among faculty within and between the departments, all directly apply to the work she does today.

Beyond the classroom, Tzipor developed her voice through organizing voter registration drives with the Dean of Students, and by planning inter-faith activities through Hillel. She also volunteered with Cleveland’s Project STEP-UP where, as a tutor, she was first exposed to America’s socio-economic inequality, an experience that shaped her worldview and career trajectory. “Running a non-profit was never on my radar,” Tzipor explains, “but developing leadership skills while building a strong foundation in science has had everything to do with where I am today. Giving back with time, treasure or both is essential to developing well-rounded citizens.”

In 2008, Tzipor tied together her passion of science to her commitment to elementary education and founded Science is Elementary (SiE). SiE is a local non-profit organization based on the vision that all children realize science is awesome. SiE’s program has affected systemic change in elementary school science classrooms by teaching students, training teachers, and engaging the scientific community as volunteers. Since opening, SiE has reached 8,000 kids and hundreds of teachers and volunteers. “The diversity of thought I learned at CWRU helps me to be a strong collaborator with each of the diverse stakeholders of SiE – schools, foundations, and  corporations.”

Tzipor is tremendously grateful for having had the opportunity to attend CWRU, particularly as her attendance relied on scholarship dollars.  “The generosity of CWRU donors made a huge impact on my life and helped to influence the work I do today.  I feel that it is important to give back to the same community that gave to me,” she resolves. “Being Jewish has taught me about my responsibility to repair the world (tikkun olam) and leave the world better than I found it.”

The Ulman-Rubinstein family has chosen an alternative philanthropy strategy, donating securities, rather than cash, because of the higher tax benefit. For further info on this and other creative ways to give, visit the Office of Planned giving’s website or contact Clarke Leslie, Associate Dean of Development and External Relations | 216.368.5233 | clarke.leslie@cwru.edu