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For several years, employees of the R&D Group have given of their time and energy to boost interest in chemistry among Israeli students. This effort began as an attempt to counter declining interest in chemistry in schools. Fewer chemistry course tracks were being offered, and fewer students were enrolling in the courses that remained.“At first, we created new content and activities to enhance chemistry classes. Then we started going in to teach at schools across Israel to attract students to the sciences. Today, our volunteers teach at 11 different schools,” says Arina Chaushu, of the Israeli R&D group. Student participation in Teva’s volunteer activities has been enthusiastic. Teva’s employees offer an industry and R&D perspective that the students simply don’t see on a daily basis. And when the Teva volunteers explain how they actually create medicines that heal people, that gets everyone’s attention.
After having volunteers visit their schools, many students wanted to see how Teva operates. Out of this came the idea of a “Shadow Researcher” day. During school holidays, small groups of students visit Arina’s R&D group at Teva. Two are assigned to each researcher, and the students are able to see first-hand how the researchers do their jobs. Arina recalls, “When the students came to Teva, they were amazed by everything - even our electronic balances and our protective equipment. The excitement and questions just didn’t stop. They ate with us in the cafeteria, they got to wear white coats like our researchers and they felt important. It was a very special day for them.”So far, 34 of the R&D Group’s 200 employees have volunteered either for classroom teaching, Shadow Researcher days, or to run tours for students at Teva’s labs. “Our volunteers,” says Arina, “are gaining as much as they are giving. There’s no greater satisfaction than in sharing our knowledge with younger generations.”