Take a Tip from Me
Say positive things to others – you don't know how they can change a person's life. Embrace something good that someone has said about you – it will only make you feel better.


Olga Ivahnenko, a student in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, "looks after" drones with her feet firmly planted on the ground. Her expertise is in the area of control, and for her final project she is building a control mechanism for drones with tilting propellers. 

Mechanical engineering is considered to be a "masculine" field, and it's no wonder that during her studies she was met with surprised glances more than once. "Luckily I didn't encounter this kind of reaction before I began my degree," she says.

Olga grew up as one of eight children, four of them boys. They all knew that mechanical engineering would not scare her. She was educated at Herzliya's David Raziel Youth Village, specializing in sciences, and it was only natural for her to choose the exact and applied sciences. "The staff at the Village was supportive. Our counsellors always made it clear that they believed in us, regardless of our chosen fields of study."

Olga came to BGU four years ago. In her third year of study in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, she began working in Prof. Hugo Guterman's lab, which develops autonomous robots. "The lab operates in several domains; one of them is the drones division headed by Dr. Ilan Zohar."

How did you come to join the lab?
"It was completely random. A good friend told me that they were looking for a mechanical engineering student to help in developing drones; I went for a job interview with Ilan and that same week I joined the drone team." In her first few months in the lab it was a bit hard for her to work in the allocated space. "You are given a task, and you alone are expected to find the solution. It was the first time I had the opportunity to do things as I saw fit. I made mistakes; I learned how things really work, and I sometimes disposed of completed projects and started from scratch. The most important lesson I've learned and continue to learn is how to deal with problems by myself."

Another thing she acquired at the lab is the ability to deal with challenges she has not yet experienced. "I entered the world of drones before I knew anything about them and, as a result, I was sometimes given a task without understanding exactly what it was about. I learned to happily accept it, to open a Web tutorial or manual, to study the subject and enrich my knowledge."

A Sentence that Changed My Life
When I was released from the army and worked at a stall at Dizengoff Center, a customer told me in response to the fact that I don't speak English – "You're intelligent enough to learn." This sentence has stuck with me for several years, and I say it to anyone who needs a little faith in themselves."