CASA Fellows

Recently Admitted Fellows
For those preparing to go abroad for the program in Cairo or Amman, we have posted frequently asked questions to the “Admitted” menu option. Please see this and the other menu items on the left related to preparing to live and study in Cairo and Amman.

CASA Fellows 2018-2019
We have another wonderful group of Fellows for the 2018-2019 year in both Amman and Cairo. You are welcome to review their bios below.

CASA Fellows ~ Cairo 18-19:

Jermaine Butler is a current Master's student at Indiana University studying Arabic and Persian in the departments of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures and Central Eurasian Studies. His research interests include ethnomusicology and Middle Eastern minorities, as well as Arabic and Persian pedagogy. He has previously studied Persian in Tajikistan through the Critical Language Scholarship program and studied Arabic in Morocco. Upon completing CASA, he plans to pursue his PhD in ethnomusicology.​​​

Blaire Byg completed her M.A. in Middle Eastern studies at Harvard University in 2018.  She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Chicago in 2014 in political science and Near Eastern languages and civilizations.  Her research interests include the environmental and economic histories of the modern Arab Middle East, particularly Palestine and Jordan.  After CASA, Blaire hopes to pursue a PhD in history and Middle Eastern studies.  

Kevin Chao graduated from Georgetown University in 2018 with a B.A. in government and in Arabic language. His interests include medieval Islamic philosophy and the politics of the modern Middle East. He is excited to return to Cairo, where he has had many memorable experiences. 

Molly Courtney is a PhD student at the University of California-Los Angeles in the department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures.  She specializes in modern Arabic literature and is particularly interested in recent Syrian and Iraqi fiction. Molly received her Bachelor's degree in Arabic studies and international studies from the University of Richmond in 2015 and her Master's degree in Near Eastern languages and cultures from the University of California-Los Angeles in 2017.  After CASA, Molly plans to finish her PhD and to pursue a career teaching and conducting research in her field. 

Amina Fahmy graduated from Brandeis University in 2017 with a B.A. in Islamic and Middle Eastern studies and in international studies. She studied Arabic for three years at Brandeis University, and for one semester in Rabat, Morocco. Amina worked as a paralegal in immigration law prior to beginning CASA and hopes to earn her PhD in Middle Eastern Studies.  

Michaela (Micki) Gallien graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in 2017 with a B.S. in global health and a concentration in contemporary Arab studies. She currently works as a legal intake caseworker in Beirut with the International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP).  Micki briefly lived in Egypt in 2015 and is incredibly excited to return to Cairo. 

Lorenzo Greenbaum graduated from Middlebury College in 2018 with a major in Arabic linguistics.  He spent approximately one and a half years working and studying in Morocco, and he is interested in dialectal variation as well as in language dynamics, identity, and Islam in the Arab world.  Following CASA, Lorenzo hopes to work in translation or a related field for a few years before pursuing a graduate degree. 

Madeleine Hall completed her degree in Middle Eastern history at West Virginia University in 2017.  She has studied Arabic through the Critical Language Scholarship Program in Oman and through the Boren Scholarship in Jordan.  Madeleine spent 16 months in Amman and worked in Arabic to English translation before she became the Middle East Editor at The Jordan Times.  Madeleine hopes to pursue research on Palestinian identity in Jordan. 

Rachel Lott recently graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and a second major in Arabic language.  Upon completing CASA, Rachel plans to begin graduate work and eventually to earn a PhD.  Her interests include sociolinguistics, literature, pedagogy, and political Islam. 

Hajara Masood is an M.A. candidate in Near Eastern studies at New York University.  After completing her B.A. in religion and minors in Arabic, Asian-American studies, and math at CUNY Hunter College, Hajara studied in Oman through the Critical Language Scholarship Program.  Her research interests encompass Arabic sociolinguistics, Arab and South Asian-American identity formation, and language pedagogy.  After completing CASA in Cairo, Hajara hopes to research the religious use of Modern Standard Arabic in the Arab World.

Seth McCombie majored in linguistics and Arabic at Brigham Young University.  His research has focused on corpus linguistics and on developing tools for Arabic students, such as a corpus of Spoken Levantine Arabic.  Seth most enjoys teaching Arabic 201.  He plans to study applications of spoken corpora to Arabic pedagogy in graduate school. 

Alejandra Padin-Dujon graduated from Yale University in 2018 with a B.A. in modern Middle East studies as well as in mathematics and philosophy.  Alejandra previously studied Arabic as a Critical Language Scholarship Program and National Security Language Initiative for Youth fellow.  Her primary research interest is in modern Arabic political thought. 

Cara Piraino recently completed her M.A. in Middle Eastern studies at the University of Chicago. After the CASA program, she is interested in working as a translator or for a refugee resettlement organization in the U.S.​ 

Taha Poonawala studied at Aljamea-tus-Saifiyah, the Arabic institute of the Dawoodi Bohra community.  After completing the rigorous 11-year curriculum in 2015, he pursued an M.A. in Middle Eastern studies at the Graduate Center of The City University of New York.  Taha is passionate about Arabic-English translation and Fatimid studies. 

CASA Fellows ~ Amman 18-19

Fatoumata Binta Bah recently graduated from CUNY-Hunter College, with an Honors B.A. in political science and an Arabic minor. She is interested in pursuing graduate studies in Arabic linguistics and a J.D. in Islamic studies. As a Guinean-American immigrant,Fatoumata hopes to work with migrant communities in the U.S. and abroad, while teaching Arabic. Her research interests include topics in Arabic diglossia, Islam in the African diaspora, and the exchange of sociolinguistic resources and religious ideas across North and West Africa. 

Aaron Burroughs graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2018 with a degree in international relations and global studies with a focus in Middle Eastern studies.  Aaron has lived and studied in Meknes, Morocco, and London, England.  His academic interests include refugee policy, migration studies, and international human rights.  After CASA, Aaron hopes to work in refugee advocacy before pursuing a Master’s degree in forced migration studies. 

Sonali Dhawan graduated from Georgetown University with a B.A. in Arabic and Islamic studies and in government.  She previously taught English in Morocco and studied abroad in Jordan, where she also conducted research on the quality of education offered to Syrian refugees.  Sonali also received the Critical Language Scholarship award to study in Oman.  After CASA, she plans to pursue her J.D. in human rights law with a focus on civilian protection in conflict. 

Daanish Faruqi is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Duke University, where his research addresses Islamic political thought, particularly the politics of Sufism.  His present work examines the role of transnational Sufi rebel groups in revolutionary upheaval, most recently during the Syrian uprising of 2011.  Previously a Fulbright student scholar in Morocco, Daanish has lived throughout the MENA region over several years, both as a researcher and as a journalist.  He has published two books based on his experiences and recently published Egypt and the Contradictions of Liberalism (co-edited with Dalia Fahmy). 

Andrew Fitzgerald is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Communication at Stanford University.  His research combines political economic critique with an empirical study of the mediation of violence in fragmented algorithmic media systems, with a specific normative focus on the intersection of global discourses of terrorism and democratic theory. 

Andrea Flinn holds a Bachelor’s degree in communication from Cornell University and a Master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL).  She studied Ammiya at the Qasid Institute from 2016-2017, and she taught at the University of Jordan.  Andrea is interested in applied linguistics, translanguaging, and TESOL, specifically Arabic.  She is excited to further explore research on the potential of technology to support language acquisition. 

Ellis Garey is a PhD student in history and Middle Eastern studies at New York University.  Her work focuses on Greater Syria during the late Ottoman period, and her broader research interests include labor history, social movements, and the history of capitalism.  Ellis previously studied Arabic in Jordan and Palestine. 

Robert Hildebrandt is a third-year anthropology PhD student at the George Washington University.  He holds a Bachelor's degree in history from Carleton College and a Master's degree in social science from the University of Chicago.  Robert has studied Arabic with CET in Jordan as well as at the Arabic Language Institute in Fez in Morocco,  the Institut français du Proche-Orient in Lebanon, and al-Najah University in Palestine.  Robert also spent two years teaching English with AMIDEAST in Tunisia.  His dissertation research focuses on questions of race, gender, and national identity among Palestinian citizens of Israel employed in the Israeli labor force. 

Jessica Lambert is a PhD student in anthropology at Boston University.  She graduated from Emory University with a B.A. in Middle Eastern studies and French literature.  Prior to beginning her doctoral program, she researched single motherhood through a Fulbright grant and worked with women’s organizations in Morocco for several years. 

Maru Pabón was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  She received a B.A. in comparative literature from Brown University and is currently a Ph.D. student in comparative literature at Yale University, where she works on literary créoles and dialects in the Maghreb and Indian Ocean.  Her developing interests include Islamic philosophies of language and the history of the Arabic language.  In 2012, Maru spent a summer studying Arabic in Amman at Columbia University’s Middle East Research Center.  She has also studied Arabic in Morocco as a FLAS award recipient. 

Paula Roetscher graduated from the University of Florida in 2016 with degrees in geography, sustainability studies, and Arabic.  She previously studied Arabic at the Middlebury Summer Language School.  Paula is interested in using GIS applications for refugee relief work and hopes to attend graduate school after her time in Jordan. 

Jackie Salzinger is a recent graduate of Yale University, where she majored in sociocultural anthropology.  Her research interests include workplace ethnography, transcultural psychiatry, and foreign language pedagogy.  In addition to her passion for language studies and the liberal arts, Jackie enjoys any opportunity to engage with music, and she is glad to have discovered during her previous semester abroad in Jordan that Amman is home not only to many opportunities to learn about tarab music, but also to chances to sing Amy Winehouse with friends. In the future, Jackie hopes to pursue either a PhD in cultural studies or a career in immigration law.  

Estevan Sanchez graduated as a University of California Regents Scholar from the University of California-Davis with a double major in History and in African American and African Studies. In 2014, he was awarded a Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic in Oman.  During the summer of 2015, he studied Arabic in Jordan with the support of a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship.  After graduation, Estevan spent a year in Morocco as a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant.  His research interests are Arabic dialects and hip-hop culture in the Middle East, specifically beat production.  

Jared Szuba is a journalist, editor, and independent researcher who earned his M.A. in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Chicago after conducting sociological ethnographic research on Cairo's urban religious networks.  He graduated from the University of Michigan with a B.A. in Near Eastern Studies and German.  Jared has previously studied Arabic at the University of Alexandria, Egypt, and al-Najah University in Nablus. 

Junius Williams graduated from Harvard College with an A.B. in African Studies (cum laude) and a language citation in Modern Standard Arabic. He has studied Arabic in Oman and Morocco and has a deep interest in the political economy of the MENA region. After CASA, Junius will work as a business analyst at McKinsey & Company. 

Michael Zanger-Tishler graduated from Yale University in 2018 with a B.A. in ethics, politics and economics and in modern Middle Eastern studies.  His research focuses on the punishment and policing of different minority groups, including Arabic speakers, in different democratic countries.  After CASA, he plans to pursue a JD/PhD to study the comparative politics and sociology of punishment.