2 SCHOLARSHIPs AWARDED:
What leadership roles or volunteer experiences have been important to you during your time at Maryland?
As a student in the Arabic Flagship Program, I participate in a variety of the clubs and serve as a student leader for the Arabic Cooking Club. This club gives me the opportunity to work with students at all levels of the language while learning about cultural norms and traditions as it pertains to food. As a pre-capstone student, I also help mentor students in the lower level courses.
What has your scholarship meant to you and how has it enabled you to pursue new and exciting opportunities?
Receiving this scholarship has meant a great deal to me. I am fully responsible for covering the cost of my education without any assistance from my parents. Because I am determined to receive the best education possible, I knew UMD would be a good place for me to study. I have been a student employee since I started school here to finance my education. This scholarship has eased some of the financial burden and allowed me to pursue an unpaid internship with the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) where I am getting hands on experience in my field of interest. At START, I work on a project that analyzes social media after political events and uses computational modeling to (someday) predict instability. I hope to pursue a career in social media analysis while using my Arabic skills and this internship (which would not be possible without this scholarship) has made that possible.
Why did you choose to attend the University of Maryland, what makes this place special to you and what is your favorite part of being a Terp?
The opportunities at the University of Maryland were beyond any of the other schools I had looked at. First, it has one of the best Arabic studies programs in the United States serving as one of five Arabic Flagship Universities. Due to its proximity to DC, there is also a wide range of internship opportunities. I intern at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START) which is a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence, located on UMD's campus. Both the Arabic Flagship Program and START have made UMD a special place for me because I am challenged in my field, learning and working with outstanding professors, and also making friends with people who share similar passions as me. Being a Terp gives me pride because I am part of a community that has motivation and drive to attack some of life's most challenging and perplexing issues.
How will you make a positive difference in the world?
My classes at UMD have really altered my perceptions of the world around me. On a daily basis I interact with foreign teachers and peers, and I have come to think of myself as a global citizen. Through some of my research on regions in the Middle East and Western perspectives, I have become more aware of how damaging our rhetoric (both verbal and visual) can be in creating a divisive society. I hope to heal the divisiveness by promoting the unheard narratives. For example, I recently participated in a research colloquium on the Visual Rhetoric of Middle Eastern Women, where I argued that neofeminist groups can be equally as oppressive in their quest to liberate Muslim women as the very patriarchy which they stand against. Additionally, visual representations of Middle Eastern women in Western societies overwhelmingly convey the narrative of "weak, oppressed Muslim woman" who "needs saving." I hope to overcome the stereotypical representations and challenge people to go beyond the narrative in mainstream media before making broad judgement in order to bring this world closer together.
What is your major, minor, class and graduation year?
I am a double major in Arabic Studies and Commnication. I will graduate in May 2018 after a Capstone year of intensive Arabic study.