Katya was born in 1993 to parents who were both immigrants from the former Soviet Union; she grew up speaking Russian at home and Hebrew at school. While she was growing up, her parents chose to move several times, always in pursuit of a better reality. Katya spent her school years moving from one city to another, changing the environment and adapting to new surroundings. Her most impactful experience was studying in a liberal, inclusive school on the outskirts of Tel-Aviv and then moving to an ultra-orthodox, extremely religious school the following year. Growing up in the shadow of those contradicting approaches shaped her understanding of the diversity of Israeli society and the lack of knowledge so many Israeli citizens have towards different communities in our society.
During her high school years, she never interacted with either Israeli-Arab or Palestinian populations; this reality made her choice to move and study in Jerusalem an eye-opening experience. Studying political science and sociology-anthropology at the Hebrew University gave her the opportunity to be exposed to a different perspective from the one in which she was raised and allowed her to review her opinions, and revise them. She gained understanding that her surroundings played a role in determining her views and values, but that it should not dictate the prejudices that many of her family and friends had regarding the Arab population in Israel. As a result, she chose to devote her time in Jerusalem to engaging in as many projects as she could in order to promote, and start building a sustainable solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Living in Jerusalem allowed Katya to learn about the history and the political complexities of the city. During her second year of studies she worked in the student union organizing courses and seminars for students, and during her third and fourth years, Katya worked as a counselor for international students in Rothberg International at the university. Interactions with international students gave her the ability to look at her reality with a new set of eyes: the foreign perspective on what we sometimes take for granted is inexplicably valuable.
After graduation, Katya was accepted to an internship program, organized by the Libra Group, in New York City. During this time, she worked on the Concordia Summit, a non-profit endeavor that enables public-private partnerships to create a more prosperous and sustainable future. As equal parts convener, campaigner, and idea incubator, Concordia is creating a new model for how a non-partisan, non-profit can have a global impact. As part of the Social Impact team, she worked on campaigns against labor trafficking, food waste and supply, animal welfare and more.
Each of the paths she took during the last few years taught her something different about the society but moreover, about herself. She is eager to see what life will bring and how her experience in NSL will shape her understanding and broaden her horizons.