Ravell OS 06

About Ravell

I joined Stonyhurst, starting in Grammar in 2002, three years after it became co-educational, and when the ratio was about 3 girls to every 7 or 8 boys. I can remember the Lower Line Girls’ house when it was so small and intimate, with only few boarders in Grammar and LG, and even fewer in Syntax, but how Mrs. Bidwell, in her own   warm and motherly way, made the house feel like home to us all and especially to the few of us who came from overseas. In many of our classes, it was not uncommon to be the only girl among boys, whether it was in EFL, tutor groups or even CCF. Nevertheless, there was always a sense of total equality, being treated exactly the same as the other boys, which is something that greatly helped in the course of my adult life, knowing that there’s no limit to what one can achieve, regardless of gender. This was evident, by the many activities and roles that I was given the chance to be involved in as a female student during my time at Stonyhurst, from becoming a member of the Committee to being a JUO in the CCF and a vice-Captain of the Shooting team, or chosen to be part of the organizing committee of the Poetry Banquet. Apart from the academic side, majoring in sciences, there was a diversity of extra-curricular activities that truly enriched my time during the four years at Stonyhurst in music – Orchestra and bands, Schola Cantorum, School and girls’ choirs, in sports – Badminton, shooting and chess teams, CCF trainings and camps, SCHT holiday weeks and many more. I've always felt very lucky to be given the opportunity and chance to be in such a supportive environment as Stonyhurst, which had driven me, at all times, to excel and develop my abilities as well as new skills in both personal and academic fields, with the constant encouragement to use our knowledge to the benefit of others. For that opportunity, I would always be grateful.

Two weeks after graduation from Stonyhurst in 2006, I began my army service in Israel in the Bureau of the Minister of Defence before going on an Officers’ course for combat supporting units and a Commanders’ training course, later serving as a Training Officer in the IDF logistics’ school. In 2009, after three years of service, I was honourably discharged as a First Lieutenant, and started my B.Sc studies at Tel-Aviv University in Chemistry and Biology, graduating in 2012 (1st class HONS). I continued with a short research project in Chemistry at the University of Bath, and later applied to M.Sc studies in Chemistry at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem doing a research in collaboration with the Nuclear Research Centre in Israel. I graduated top of the class with distinction in 2015 and continued my studies for Ph.D in Chemistry, while applying and being accepted for a position as a Forensic Officer in the Latent Fingerprint Laboratory, at the Division of Identification and Forensic Science in the Israel Police. Among the key skills that my time at Stonyhurst helped me accomplish are independent thinking and auto-didactic studying ability, which are both crucial, from my experience, for excelling in higher education as well as in work. In particular, the skills taught in the science departments, from a thorough research of the literature, to designing and conducting the experiments and finally to the analysis and evaluation of the results, had an immense contribution for aiding me to become a successful scientist and researcher today.

In 2017 there was a breakthrough in the research, as we discovered a novel method for the removal of toxic radioactive waste from water, motivated by the urgent need for a solution to help preventing future nuclear disasters as the ones in Chernobyl and Fukushima. For this research I was proud to be awarded the Israel Analytical Chemistry Society prize for outstanding research in Analytical Chemistry. Since 2016, I've been working as a Forensic Officer in the Latent Fingerprint laboratory focusing on high-profile crime investigations, while developing new techniques for the enhancement of latent fingermarks as well as being a member of the International Fingerprints’ Research Group. After completing my Ph.D in Chemistry in 2018, I continued as a Post-Doctoral researcher in collaboration with the Hebrew University and the Israel Police, working on finding forensic solutions for counter-terrorism. I can truly say that the motto of Stonyhurst – “Men and Women for the service of others” was never just words to me, but an inspiration for life.

Ravell Ben-Giat - Awarded the Israel Analytical Chemistry Society Prize for outstanding research

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