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 Cairo for the 2017-2018 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 2017-2018

Sam Dinger graduated from Georgetown University in 2011 with a BS in International Politics and Arab Studies and is currently a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at New York University. His dissertation research is an ethnographic study of the relationships among humanitarian aid, infrastructures, and local governance in the management of the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon's Beqaa valley. He previously studied Arabic at Georgetown, NYU, and the University of Alexandria in Egypt.

Alice Duesdieker completed her MA in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University in 2017. In her master’s program, she focused on education in the Middle East – from colonialism to the role that gender and refugee status plays in contemporary educational opportunities. Professionally, she is also interested in the intersection of technology and international development. Alice received her BA in Middle Eastern History from UC Berkeley.

Eleanor Ellis is a Master’s student in Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University. Her research interests include collective memory, gender, environmental history, and urban space. She previously studied and lived in Cairo. Additionally, she studied Arabic at summer programs in the American University of Beirut and Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey. Eleanor is interested in Arabic-English translation, and she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in history and Middle Eastern studies.

Danna Elmasry graduated from the University of Chicago with a BA in Fundamentals: Issues and Texts, an interdisciplinary program. She hopes to explain her interdisciplinary program in Arabic by the end of her year in Cairo. After becoming a koshari connoisseur, she plans to attend law school.

Ellie Freeman received her Master of International Affairs degree from the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University, where she specialized in Middle Eastern Studies. She received her undergraduate degrees, also from Texas A&M University, in International Studies and Spanish. She is proficient in Spanish and has studied Arabic in Egypt and at the University of Texas at Austin. After CASA, she plans to pursue a JD in international human rights and refugee law.

Ilona Gerbakher is currently a second year PhD Student in Islamic Studies at Columbia University in New York City. After completing her Master's of Theological Studies in Islam as a Presidential Scholar at the Harvard Divinity School, she lived and worked in Morocco and Qatar. She also received a FLAS award to study in Jordan. She hopes to use her time as a CASA Fellow to deepen her knowledge of Medieval Islamic manuscripts.

Jenna Henderson is a PhD student in anthropology at the University of Chicago. While completing two MA degrees, she wrote about Palestinian women’s organizations and Syrian activism in Chicago. After completing CASA, she plans to conduct fieldwork with Syrian artists living in the diaspora.

David Kanbergs recently obtained his bachelor's degree from Hunter College in New York City. After CASA, he will be entering a doctoral program in the department of Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies at New York University, where he plans to study modern and contemporary Arabic literature.

Antonio Musto is currently a PhD student in the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies department at New York University. His work is primarily philological, and his research interests include early Islamic intellectual history—specifically the intersection of theology, law, and Sufism in the 9th-12th centuries—as well as early forms of Islamic piety, both renunciation and mysticism. He is also fond of translating classical Arabic texts and is interested in Arabic language pedagogy.

Natasha Pesaran is a PhD candidate at Columbia University in the history of the modern Middle East. Her research interests revolve around the history of oil development in the twentieth century and its impact on Arab societies and politics. She intends to write her dissertation on the political and social history of the oil pipelines that were built to transport Iraq’s oil to the Mediterranean.

Jennifer Pineo-Dunn is a PhD candidate at New York University. She received her MA in Islamic Studies from McGill University and is currently pursuing an MA in Arabic Pedagogy at Middlebury College. Her dissertation research examines the transnational translation and reception of contemporary Arabic literature.

Shazeb Qadir is a PhD student in Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at UCLA. His interests include classical Arabic literature, Islamic Studies, Arabic pedagogy, and digital humanities.

Betty Rosen is a PhD student in Near Eastern Studies at UC Berkeley, where she focuses on classical and modern Arabic literature and literary theory. She earned a BA in Comparative Literature from Harvard College in 2012 and an MA in Arabic Literature from the School of Oriental and African Studies in 2013.

Melissa Scott received her BA in music from the University of Chicago and is currently a doctoral student in ethnomusicology at UC Berkeley. Her research focuses on how political conceptions of place are articulated and negotiated in classical Arabic music pedagogy in Jordan. She is also an oudist and an oud enthusiast.