By Samantha Ebner
For MitzpehPicture taken by a friend of Shana Lowenstein’s this past summer in Israel.
When she is not managing the Hillel or swabbing people for the Gift of Life, you can find her dancing, playing basketball, or hanging out with friends. A Maryland native, Shana Lowenstein grew up in Silver Spring and is a junior majoring in marketing and minoring in real estate. Her artistic passion and ability led her to choose the strategic fellow program in the business major.
During her freshman and sophomore years, Lowenstein was trying to figure out what she found most interesting; she took every GenEd course offered. She professes to have taken “so many different random classes, [having] enjoyed psychology and architecture,” and ultimately decided to major in business.
“The end of sophomore year I sat down and went through every major Maryland has to offer, and I crossed off the ones I was not interested in and ended up with marketing… I like planning things and organizing different events, and I’m also creative, so I thought I would enjoy the advertising and graphic side to it as well,” Lowenstein said.
Enjoying the creative side of marketing, Lowenstein is interested in pursuing something related to graphic design.
Her organizational skills, creative capabilities, and interest in being an active participant in the Jewish community compelled her to run for a leadership position in the Hillel. “I decided to run to help out with different events and make sure there are always things going on and that people have things to do and are happy on campus,” said Lowenstein.
The three organizations within the Hillel are Kedma, Ometz and Ruach. Each division has a board and an executive committee; Kedma is the Orthodox sect run by Shana Lowenstein.
“What makes Shana so great for our community is her combination of determination and creativity. She’s just someone who gets stuff done, and she knows what the community needs; she’s just able to handle anything. Shana’s there and Shana knows what she’s doing,” said friend Tani Levinsohn.
Lowenstein is the person to seek if someone has an issue with or advice for the Hillel. She runs weekly meetings to plan events and appoints people to lead activities. Her responsibility is to supervise and manage Hillel matters and recreations. She oversees the board, making sure planning activities goes smoothly and board members are assisted in any way; she picks up the slack.
“Shana’s constant excitement and enthusiasm just lends itself to making everyone else happier and more excited to go to things and do things with her,” said friend Rafi Kigner. “She manages to get people on her side through that genuinely nice and personable personality. She is very interested and caring in the causes that she works with and spends her time on, which, again, shows through and makes everyone all the more invested in her actions.”
Her goal is to strengthen the Jewish community and provide fun events for fellow students. Last year, COVID-19 limited students’ abilities to socialize so Lowenstein is determined to do everything she can to unite the community.
“My goals for this semester was to do a lot of in-person events and try to bring the community together as much as possible. So making sure the underclassmen feel involved and feel connected was very important to me,” Lowenstein expressed.
Prior to becoming Kedma Board President, Lowenstein was head of the Chesed chair during her freshman and sophomore years. This job required her to plan charity events. Last year, she ran for Kedma Board president.
“Once you run for president, you’re VP for one semester and then you’re president for one semester. So in total I’ve been Chesed chair for two semesters, VP for one semester and now I’m president for one semester,” Lowenstein explained.
In addition to the work she does for the Hillel, Lowenstein is a Gift of Life ambassador. Gift of Life is a “bone marrow registry” (giftoflife.org) that arranges transplants, pairing sick people to receive healthy “bone marrow and blood stem cells” (giftoflife.org) from people who volunteer. Her job is to run bone marrow drives and swab healthy people to see if they are a match with someone ill.
Lowenstein’s dad swabbed for Gift of Life and in 2009 was matched with a leukemia patient. He donated his stem cells, saving the person’s life. Inspired by her dad’s story, she decided to get involved with Gift of Life. In high school, she interned for the organization and in college became a campus ambassador to get more people in the bone marrow registry to save lives.
Lowenstein’s involvement and activism in the school has been an inspiration for her younger brother, freshman Elie Lowenstein.
“As a first-semester freshman and not knowing what to expect entering college, it has been really nice to have my older sister Shana on campus to help me out,” said Elie Lowenstein. “She is the type of person that steps up when the people around her need her leadership and organizational skills, among many more, which have been utilized to grow this community and make it stronger.”
As the daughter of a Cuban Zumba teacher, Lowenstein enjoys cooking Spanish dishes and dancing. Her favorite activity is to cook with her grandmother and dance to the video game Just Dance.
“I downloaded Just Dance on my computer and when I’m bored instead of doing work, I’ll just do that in my apartment,” said Lowenstein. “Randomly will burst into dance even though I’m not a good dancer but it’s fun. You can find me blasting music in the apartment and just having a good time.”
Appreciating the beauty in the world, Lowenstein loves to travel and see different cultures; she’s been to Switzerland, Greece, Panama, and Israel. She also enjoys playing basketball; she’s on an intramural basketball team on campus and plans to be on the National Hillel Basketball Team.
Lowenstein has taken advantage of every opportunity this university offers, expanding her abilities and broadening her skills. Her involvement in Hillel and Gift of Life cater to her qualities of an organized, active leader and participating member in her community. She believes that four years of college is a significant amount of time, so one should emphasize extracurriculars as much as academics.
“You can go through [college] just focusing on school work and not being involved, but there’s so much to do on campus. So find what you love and go for it because you can make a big difference here,” said Lowenstein.