CASA Fellows

Recently Selected Fellows
Applicants are notified in mid-March regarding their status each year. We will post the Admissions Packet to the “Selected” menu option. Please see the other menu items on the left related to preparing to live and study in Cairo and Amman.

Current Fellows
We have a wonderful group of Fellows in Amman for the 2016-2017 year. You are welcome to review their bios below. Helpful information for those currently in the program can be viewed in the “Current” menu option.

CASA Fellows 2016-2017

Janna Aladdin graduated Rutgers University in May 2016 with a degree in public health, Middle Eastern studies, and history. Her academic interests include Arab intellectual history, the history of science and medicine, and environmental history. After CASA, Janna hopes to pursue graduate studies in modern Middle Eastern history. 

Muriel Carpenter graduated from Swarthmore College with a major in French and francophone studies and minors in Arabic studies and Islamic studies. During her time there, she studied abroad in Oman, Jordan, and France. Muriel currently co-runs Paper Airplanes, an English tutoring program that matches American college students with refugee students. Since her first year of college, she has been involved with migration law and policy, interning with a law office, an NGO, the US government, and a French media outlet. After CASA, Muriel hopes to attend law school and study refugee and immigration law. 

Tara Di Cassio is an MA candidate at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a BA in international studies with a concentration in the Middle East and South Asia from North Carolina State University where she studied Arabic for three years. She also studied in Amman at the Qasid Institute for the 2014-2015 academic year on a Boren Fellowship.

Amin Gharad is a double-major in Arabic and philosophy at Georgetown University. Having spent the summer of 2014 in Amman, he is excited to return for another year of study and to pick up an artistic skill—such as calligraphy—as well. 

Courtney Graves graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BA in Middle Eastern studies and Arabic language and literature. She wrote an undergraduate thesis, which featured a comparative study of post-Ottoman Kurdish and Palestinian national identities. Prior to CASA, Courtney lived in Egypt, teaching English and working with Syrian refugees. Courtney is interested in post-colonial nationalism in the Middle East.

Helena Hlavaty graduated from Middlebury College in 2016, where she majored in economics and received minors in mathematics and Arabic. She previously studied Arabic in Jordan through the Critical Language Scholarship Program and the Middlebury School Abroad in Amman. Helena is very interested in Arabic teaching pedagogy and in women’s reproductive health issues across the Arab world. After CASA, she hopes to attend graduate school and ultimately pursue a career that allows her to combine her passions for teaching and research.

Naseeha Hussain graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and Arabic. She went on to earn an MA in religious studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign, where she focused on women in Muslim societies. Following CASA, Naseeha would like to continue research in that area with additional graduate education.

Sharon Jacobs is an MA candidate at the University of Chicago studying linguistic anthropology. Her academic interests include language and identity, linguistic register in Arabic, and migration. Sharon earned a BA in linguistics and Arabic at the University of Michigan, worked in the international division of National Geographic magazine, and studied Arabic in Lebanon. After CASA, she plans to pursue a PhD and a career as a Middle East-focused linguistic anthropologist.

Zoë Kosoff is completing her MA at the University of Arizona and will begin PhD coursework following the CASA program. Zoë is concentrating in Arabic linguistics and intends to minor in second language acquisition and teaching. Her main research interests include teaching Arabic as a foreign language, translation and localization studies, and issues regarding Arabic polyglossia.

Emma Leathley earned a BA in Arab crossroads studies from New York University in Abu Dhabi. Her BA thesis examined how think tanks in the UAE use the idea of the war on terrorism in terrorism research. Emma studied Arabic for four years at NYUAD and at the Middlebury Arabic School. After CASA, Emma hopes to pursue a PhD in Middle Eastern Studies. Her research interests include critical studies of the war on terrorism and the modern history of the Arab Gulf states.

Miguel Merino has an MA in Arabic and Islamic studies from Georgetown University and a Bachelor of Music from the University of Miami. A career performer, he developed a passion for the Arabic language when he lived in Egypt and collaborated with local musicians. He founded and led the musical and educational ensemble Otaak Band in Cairo in 2009. In the spring of 2016 Miguel worked as a research assistant at the Meridian Center for Cultural Diplomacy in Washington, DC, an arts and culture non-profit that facilitates exchanges between American and foreign artists. 

Paige Milligan received her BA from Bard College and is currently working toward a PhD in Arabic literature at the University of Michigan. Her research focuses on the experience of exile within one’s own homeland, and she is especially interested in modern Palestinian literature and in the aljamiado/Morisco literature produced by Spanish Muslims during the 16th and 17th  centuries.

Charles (CJ) Sutherland graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. His primary academic interests include the relationship of colonialism to identity and nation formation, and the role of the state in constructing and representing these identities. He has previously studied Arabic in Jordan with Middlebury School in the Middle East, as well as in France with Harvard Summer School.  His other interests include education, youth empowerment, international politics, backpacking, photography, and puns.

Leila Tayeb is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Performance Studies at Northwestern University. Her dissertation project centers on affect and political potentiality in music performances related to the 2011 Libyan revolution. Her research interests more broadly include phenomenology, dance studies, feminist and queer theory, diaspora and return.    

Chloe Walton graduated from Columbia University in 2016 with a BA in Middle Eastern, South Asian and African studies and a concentration in linguistics. She has lived and studied in France, and spent the summer of 2014 in Morocco studying Arabic with the State Department’s CLS program. Her academic interests include language interaction, discourse and pragmatics, and language acquisition.