Pressing for Success


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Tiruwork Mulat
































Life led Tiruwork Mulat – a math teacher from Addis Ababa – to Israel. Though her absorption into her new country was anything but smooth, she, together with her husband, raised four children who would make any parent proud. Today, her daughter and three sons are a graphic design student, an army engineer, a medical student and a soon-to-be soldier.

At this point, most people would lean back and give themselves a pat on the back. Mulat, however, decided this was the time to register for doctoral studies at the Weizmann Institute of Science. Concerned about the integration of Ethiopian immigrants into the Westernized Israeli culture, she researches the reasons that Ethiopian immigrants are poorly represented in advanced high school courses for math and science.


"I decided to take up mathematics and science when, as a young girl, I began to appreciate the power of science to reveal the secrets of nature, and the centrality of mathematics to this."

Tiruwork Mulat (front, 3rd from right), at age 5










In spite of the time that has elapsed since most Ethiopian immigrants arrived in Israel, the achievements of many of their children still lag behind the national average. To investigate ways of bridging the gap, Mulat looks first at students in the Ethiopian community who attain a fair level of achievement in math.

She then compares these with other Ethiopian immigrant students, analyzing the factors that helped the first group succeed. Being Ethiopian-born herself, she says, helps build an atmosphere of trust between her, the students and their families.

Once she has identified the elements of their success, she plans to make them the basis of an educational program tailored to meet the needs of Ethiopian immigrant students.


"The Weizmann Graduate School enables me to carry out my research in an environment where I receive enrichment in various fields and the opportunity to participate in academic discussion."