American Technion Society (ATS) National and local board member Rosalyn (Roz) August ran a successful jewelry business at a time when and in a place where women rarely went into business. So perhaps it came as no surprise when she launched an outreach program at the Technion to support women in engineering — an area where women remain vastly underrepresented.
Created in 2015 with a name befitting to the onetime jeweler, The Rosalyn August Girls Empowerment Initiative, or GEM, exposes female high school
students to opportunities offered by an education in engineering. Through GEM, Ms. August sponsors the yearly Tech Women event, where science-minded students from across Israel visit campus for inspiring activities with accomplished Technion women in academia and industry.
I’m paying it forward, making it possible for these girls to go to the Technion and see what it’s all about. Then they can become astrophysicists and go on and change the world.
Ms. August grew up in a very different world. She came from a family of retailers. Her father was in the jewelry business, and her relatives owned nearly 10 of the 50 stores in the small Virginia town where she was raised. While her friends talked about hair and makeup, she was interested in retail trends. So when her older brother broke the news that he had no interest in going into the family business, Ms. August offered to take his place. But her father would have no part of it. “He told me the jewelry business was a man’s world, and I would not be welcomed,” she recalled. “That planted a seed.”
Ms. August earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and ultimately, with her father’s blessing, opened her very own antique and estate jewelry business, the Diamond & Jewelry Exchange. In 2011, she retired to Florida, where she became involved with ATS. She was inspired to start GEM when a female faculty member noted that most of her colleagues were men.
“I’ve always felt that women could do whatever they wanted to do,” she said.
A longtime, generous supporter of the Technion, Ms. August has served on both the National Board and the regional leadership council for South Palm Beach. She lives in Boca Raton with her partner, Joel Goodman, and is introducing her children and grandchildren to the Technion.