Onward Inspired: David J. DellaPelle
My time on Onward Israel was monumental. Nowhere else have I felt so passionate or inspired. Nowhere else has ten weeks felt like a blink of the eye. Thank you Waycare, Tel Aviv, Onward and Israel for making summer 2017 a truly lifechanging and unforgettable experience for this NJB from NJ.
Over a 10-week period during the summer of 2017, I worked for a startup, Waycare Technologies, located in Tel Aviv, Israel. I lived in the heart of the city and participated in an internship program with 40 other college students from the United States. This time on Onward Israel proved to be one of the most monumental experiences I have had, both in terms of my enjoyment and personal growth.
Waycare is a smart mobility company with the mission of shaping the future of city mobility. It connects cities to their streets; allowing municipalities to predict traffic congestion and incidents, and thus enabling them to prevent accidents before they happen. Waycare is currently implementing its first platform in the City of Las Vegas, a city with 40 million visitors annually and thus plenty of traffic problems.
Nothing in the above paragraph was more than remotely familiar to me before I landed at Ben Gurion airport on June 15th, 2017. I had just graduated two weeks earlier from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Industrial and Labor Relations and a business minor. My professional experience was in “Corporate America” in New York, not in the “Startup Nation” in Tel Aviv. My only previous visit to Israel was a 10-day trip with Birthright six months prior, a similarly special experience, but which only allowed me to “dip my toes” in the water.
I needed to experience more. I was determined to seize the opportunity to return to Israel with Onward. Working in high-tech was also an attractive prospect to me because it would give me a new and fresh professional experience.
This summer I learned a whole lot more about Israel, knowledge that I sought as someone with Jewish heritage who knew very little about the Jewish State.
I extensively toured and learned about the various areas of Judea and Samaria. I learned about how the nomadic Bedouin people in the Negev periphery have lived for centuries, and today struggle to adapt to our modern society. I hiked a major valley in the Golan Heights and swam in the Sea of Galilee. I engaged in a thought-provoking weekend seminar on Geopolitics in Neve Ilan, which is a beautiful hilltop town on the outskirts of Jerusalem. I learned there are profound and severe issues in the region—and there are no simple solutions to solve them anytime soon.
I also fell completely and totally in love with the beating heart of Tel Aviv. Nowhere else do I feel so alive. This summer I naturally adapted to the Israeli commitment to tirelessly pursue individual betterment: physically, professionally, socially, spiritually, and educationally.
While my past experiences, at both Cornell and elsewhere, have matured me, working every day alongside Israelis definitely furthered this process. It was inspiring to hear stories about their service because their reality and perspectives were completely different when they were my age. At 22, many Israelis are beginning their undergraduate education. At 22, I have completed my degree and am already starting my career. I do not believe that either of these pathways is “better,” but they certainly contrast.
Waycare was the perfect first job out of undergrad for so many reasons. At Waycare, I always felt as though my work was actionable. While I did not spend time building the algorithm or cleaning the myriad of data that makes Waycare’s solution unique, my work in business development was and will continue to positively impact the company and help to progress its mission.
I took on a lot of responsibility this summer at Waycare. I was challenged to deliver and be the best version of myself every day. I developed deep connections and close friendships with many of the team members.
Nowhere else have I felt so passionate or inspired. Nowhere else has ten weeks felt like a blink of the eye. Thank you Waycare, Tel Aviv, Onward and Israel for making summer 2017 a truly lifechanging and unforgettable experience for this NJB from NJ.