By Elka Wiesenberg
Ever wonder how the three ladies you interact with in the Office of Student Life (OSL) got to be so charming and lovely? Here’s a hint: they originate from that city that’s way far out of town but isn’t even a warm vacation spot in January. Talia Molotsky, Chani Morgenstern, and Zehavya Stadlan are all from the beautiful and welcoming Chicago, which is why they have such sunny smiles—something’s gotta keep out the chill! This is also why they are so cool. No, I’m not biased, don’t edit this out, team.
I have known Talia Molotsky since I was in preschool (yeah, just proving that out-of-towners all know each other). She was a student of my mother’s for multiple years. Personally, I was always drawn to this amazing woman, getting the sense even as a child that she was one of the most genuine and thoughtful people on the planet. Talia graduated Stern in 2016 with a BA in music and Judaic Studies and is currently pursuing her master’s from Azrieli.
Elka: So Talia, tell me a bit about how you got involved in Student Life.
Talia: I’ve been involved in Student Life at Beren since my first day as a Stern student! Rachel Ciment came over to talk to me, asked what I was interested in… and I ended up teaching a Zumba class my first day on campus because the Zumba teacher got sick!
Elka: What interested you in working for YU?
Talia: I’m interested in pursuing education administration, and working for OSL is a great segue into that. I love watching students grow and thrive with our help. I especially love running Torah Tours and empowering students to come up with and present creative educational material.
I also have a really fun office! Don’t tell anyone. (Sorry Tals, you didn’t say “off the record.” I’m sure our readers can keep a secret!)
Elka: What’s the best part about your job?
Talia: Working with student council members! (Note: Talia was actually on student council herself as a student!) We meet with the presidents weekly to discuss various issues on campus. We also started a mentorship program that pairs each student with an OSL member, so we meet with them about once a month to help them with anything they need. I also love running service-learning missions and Torah Tours.
Elka: What upcoming events are you most excited about?
Talia: So You Think Stern Can Dance is going to be really wonderful. We’re creating an alumni night to include our YU community in the event.
I’m also really excited for the Camp Shabbaton in May; we’re going to take 150 people to Camp Dina, for the first time at least in a long time. It’ll be a cool experience outside of Manhattan, which a lot of people understandably want the opportunity for. We’re going to be creating an environment that’s entirely our own, instead of just joining an existing community’s space.
Elka: What would you say is most important to you about your job, in terms of making a difference on campus?
Talia: I’m trying as much as possible to be transparent with students about what’s happening on campus. Oftentimes, even if we can’t resolve an issue, it means a lot to open up the conversation and explain the process, just to shed a light on what’s going on. People appreciate that itself.
Elka: What’s rewarding about what you’re doing?
Talia: When students come in, they often have energy and passion but don’t know how to channel it. It’s so rewarding to be the connector between what someone wants to do and what’s available on campus for that person.
Elka: Thinking back to your Stern days, what’s one piece of advice that you would give yourself?
Talia: Enjoy every second of your Torah classes. Every time you think that an extra 10-15 minutes in the Beis isn’t a big deal, go take advantage of it anyways!