Robby Ost took his passion for business and the environment abroad last summer. The sophomore Environmental Resource Management major in the College of Agricultural Sciences traveled to Jerusalem, Israel, where he spent three months working for an environmental consulting business.
A Potomac, Maryland, native, Ost jumped at the chance to experience the unique culture of Israel through a program called Onward Israel, which is offered through Penn State Hillel. The program provides Jewish students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the Israeli culture, while giving them internship experience in their prospective job fields.
"I always have been fascinated with the religiosity and culture of Israel. It is often portrayed negatively by the media, but to me, it is like a second home," Ost said.
Ost first became interested in Israel in high school when he attended a Jewish day school. There, he learned Hebrew and spent the final weeks of his senior year exploring Israel with his classmates. "I fell in love with the country back then, and knew I wanted to come back someday," he said.
Two years later, Ost enjoyed his trip more than he could have dreamed back in high school. He became more fluent in Hebrew, spent weekends exploring historic sites and worked alongside professionals in his internship.
"In my free time, I could take a bus downtown into the modern city, or visit the historic 'Old City of Jerusalem.' The contrast between the two was incredible for such a geographically small city."
Ost worked for a small company called Greeneye, where he did research and worked with the firm's marketing team to rebrand the company, redesigning its website and logo.
"I came to Israel with a hobby interest in marketing, but over the summer it turned into a true passion of mine and now is a future career goal," he said.
Penn State can help him get there. With a major in ERM and a prospective minor in business, Ost hopes to be a great candidate for a marketing job after he graduates, or perhaps for graduate school to pursue an MBA in marketing.
When asked if anything could have made his summer better, he replied, "Air conditioning."