Support for a curious mind

Scholarship helps LAS alumna embark on career as an intelligence analyst

Meirav Malter completed her degrees in the College of LAS with help from the Ronald Filler Scholarship.  (Image courtesy of Meirav Malter.)
Meirav Malter completed her degrees in the College of LAS with help from the Ronald Filler Scholarship. (Image courtesy of Meirav Malter.)

During her undergraduate days at Illinois, Meirav Malter had a common problem faced by curious people: She wanted to study pretty much everything. That’s how she wound up double majoring in global studies and Jewish studies with a minor in history—including courses on Hebrew, Arabic, Judaism, and Middle Eastern statehood, not to mention her research on Bedouin tribes of the Sinai Peninsula.

Part of her student experience also included a year spent studying abroad at Tel Aviv University. In summer 2017, Malter (BA, ’18, global studies; BA, ’18, Jewish studies) worked as a research intern at the Institute for National Studies in Israel, and she published her first article with her advisor at Tel Aviv University. The article appeared on the Peres Center for Peace’s recommended reading list for August 2017.

In short, today, as Malter works full-time as an intelligence analyst in Israel while preparing to pursue a master’s degree in the fall, you can conclude that being a student with visual impairment didn’t impair her plans for the future. She also received help during the spring semester of her senior year at Illinois from the Ronald Filler Scholarship.

The scholarship, made possible by LAS alumnus and attorney Ronald Filler (BA, ’70, political science), is awarded twice annually to outstanding undergraduates in the Program in Jewish Culture and Society who are nominated by faculty.

“I was super, super excited,” Malter recalls, of receiving the scholarship. “You don’t just win the award but you go to a reception to meet Ron Filler. My parents came. Brett Kaplan (then director of the Program in Jewish Culture and Society) joined us. It was a small group and we all got to know each other.”

Malter fondly remembers that support now, as she settles in a new country—she’s learned that moving to Israel is a lot more complicated than simply studying there for a year—and works in her new job at a security company that advises businesses that operate in risky regions. As she gets ready to add graduate classes at Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya to her busy schedule, Malter remains focused on a goal of someday working in public policy or diplomacy in the United States or Israel.

Just recently, Malter added, she was in touch with Filler to let him know her plans.

“He said he’s here for advice and wants to maintain relationships with scholarship recipients,” Malter said. “He said, ‘In the future, if you’re ever in the place to give scholarships or verbal assistance, try to pay it forward.’ So I hope I’m able to do that one day.”

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Dave Evensen and Jessica Bursztynsky