Chico State Helps Pave Way for Alumna Now Living in Israel
Ashira Solomon’s life is centered on family and her Jewish religion.
Her maternal grandmother, Rena, had long dreamt of going to the “homeland,” but died of cancer before she could fulfill that dream. So, when Solomon was looking to transfer to a four-year university, she discovered Chico State offers a Hebrew language program and has a study abroad program with the University of Haifa in Israel.
It was kismet.
“One of my grandmother’s dreams was to go back to the holy land—go to Israel,” said Solomon, who was raised in Livermore, California. “She believed if she could make it to the Kotel (also known as the Western Wall), she would be imbued with the holiness and be healed.”
While Solomon’s grandmother didn’t have the opportunity to make the trip, her granddaughter has and is now making a life and a home for herself in Jerusalem.
Solomon (Public Administration, ’17; MA, Public Administration, ’22) is a senior development analyst for TAMID Group, a nonprofit organization that offers undergraduate students the chance to work with startups and companies in Israel. She said she loves her career because she can advocate for students and help make it possible for them to pursue educational experiences regardless of their finances.
“I know how important it is to do internships and fellowships because I’ve completed several of them myself,” Solomon said. “I had funding support to send me and now I really like being on the other side.”
Solomon’s first visit to Israel was through Chico State’s study abroad program. Then in 2018, she was awarded the prestigious David L. Boren Fellowship—only the third Chico State student and the first woman and African American student to win. As a Boren scholar, she returned to Israel and spent a year studying Hebrew while working as a marketing fellow for The Taub Center for Social Policy Studies.
Solomon, a first-generation college student, also was one of eight women nationwide who were awarded a Running Start Star Fellowship. She completed a semester in Washington, DC, working as an intern for a female member of Congress.
Most recently, Solomon served as a master of ceremonies for the Reykjavík Global Forum – Women Political Leaders conference in Iceland. As an alumna of the Running Start program, she was invited to attend with their delegation and the Women Political Leaders organization invited her to be the presenter and moderator for the forum.
“It was an exhilarating experience,” she said. “It was an honor to moderate a panel between Icelandic women parliamentarians about the future of women in leadership and speak in front of 400 political women leaders from over 100 countries. I also had the pleasure of meeting the president of Iceland, prime minister of Iceland, president of Nepal, and Vigdis Finnbogadottir—the world’s first female elected president—along with many other heads of states. This experience motivated me to continue to pursue my own political aspirations as a future female leader.”
Solomon commends and credits the University for not only opening windows into the world through classroom learning but also doors for students who want to learn overseas.
“I’ve had just such a wonderful experience at Chico,” she said. “I’m glad I chose Chico State because it was so great for my career in general.”
The University, and in particular, Professor Diana Dwyre, is always present in her accomplishments, Solomon said.
“I’ve never had a course with her, but she has been instrumental in my career and in every opportunity that I have had at Chico State,” Solomon said. “I worked at the senate in California for a semester and she was the one who got me that position and recommended me. I did study abroad in Haifa. I did the Boren Fellowship which brought me back to Jerusalem. She was the one that helped me with the applications.”
Dwyre, the internship coordinator for political science, said Solomon was very persistent in looking for opportunities to get the most out of her education. Solomon didn’t shy away from the amount of time and effort it took to apply for nationally competitive internships and fellowships.
“That was one of the things that always struck me about her,” Dwyre said. “Her desire and this goal of getting the most out of every situation—it’s really impressive. And along with her courses, she worked the whole time she was in college, and she pursued many other opportunities that would help her gain experience and knowledge and skills. And she didn’t stop, she still hasn’t stopped.”
For Solomon, having professors like Dwyre who listen, encourage, and champion students has been impactful.
“God, family, and the Chico State community propelled me into where I’m headed, where I’ve been, and I’m just extremely grateful,” she said. “I can’t wait to see where I go next and all the next opportunities and to be a thought leader for my generation and change the world.”