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7.19.2017 Near Eastern Studies extends our warmest thanks to Ronni Lacroute '66 for her extremely generous support for Persian Language instruction at Cornell.
Here's what a selection of some of our undergraduate alumni are up to:
Magdalene Murphy '17 graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern Studies and Spanish. She has a position as a Legal Assistant at Weitz & Luxenberg. An interview with Madgalene for the A&S "Exeptional Senior" series can be found, here.
Xinyi Chen '17 graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern Studies and a Minor in Jewish Studies. She will be seeking an MA/MSc in International and World History at Columbia University. An interview with Xinyi for the A&S "Exceptional Senior" series can be found, here.
Tara Kheradpir '14 is currently working in the United States Senate office of Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA-D). Prior to joining the Senate, Tara spent three years working in finance. She was an Investment Associate at Fundrise, a financial technology startup in DC, as well as a Securitized Product Sales Analyst for Nomura Securities International, an international investment bank in NYC.
While Tara had spent the majority of her career in the private sector, she knew she had a passion for public policy and service. In 2016, she worked as an Organizing Fellow of the Hillary for America Campaign, in addition to her full-time job at Fundrise. After the 2016 presidential election, Tara decided to leave the private sector to work in public service. In her spare time, Tara launched Iranians of America, a social media campaign dedicated to sharing the human stories and contributions of Iranian American immigrants in this country.
Tara is a 2014 graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences with a dual B.A. in Near Eastern Studies and Government. Tara is excited to spend some time in public service and intends to return to school in the future to seek her dual Masters in Public Policy and Business.
Laura Fish '11 is a doctoral student at University of Texas at Austin in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. Relying upon both her Persian and Arabic language knowledge, she focuses her studies on Iranian cinema, while also addressing Egyptian and Palestinian film. Her interests lie in determining the current digital distribution and viewing practices of mid-twentieth-century popular Iranian films through online platforms.
More recently, in 2013, Laura completed her Master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies at UT. Her thesis work focused on Iranian visual culture during the Iran-Iraq War.
Priscilla Cunha '10 is currently an Arabic Teacher at Austin High School. In May 2016 she recieved an MA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she studied Applied Linguistics, with a focus on the Teaching of Arabic as a Foreign Language. She is particularly interested in the teaching of Arabic Culture in both K-12 and university-level settings.
She holds a Bachelor's Degree in Near Eastern Studies, Linguistics and German Studies from Cornell University, and during her undergraduate career she participated in the inaugural year of Cornell's Intensive Arabic Program and studied abroad for a semester at the Hashemite University in Zarqa, Jordan. She has also lived in Cairo, Egypt and Doha, Qatar. She speaks Levantine Arabic, Modern Standard Arabic, German and reads Classical Arabic and Latin.
Alexandra Perrotti '10 lives in Washington, D.C. where she works as director on the educational team at the National Geographic Society. She supports educators across the United States (and internationally) with tools to engage and inspire students the next generation of scientists, explorers, conservationists, and storytellers. "On a daily basis I have the pleasure of interacting with educators from across the country who are doing really cool things to teach kids about the world and how to make it a better place. One big (literally) project I worked on this year was our Giant Traveling Maps - these are 16 x 20 foot maps that kids can walk and do lessons on - they are an awesome way to introduce geography and map reading skills, and its super fun to see little kids geek out about 'standing' on their town."
Amy Pearlman '09 is currently a J.D. candidate at The George Washington University Law School and served as Program Coordinator for "Encounters" in Jerusalem from 2010-2014.
Ruth Kelty Wilford '09, M.A. thesis in History (Sultan Qaboos University, 2016) written entirely in Arabic:
"The Commercial and Diplomatic Actions of the American Consuls in Zanzibar, 1837-1915"
Jessie DeGrado '08. After graduating from Cornell University ('08), I spent a year studying at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Currently, I am a PhD candidate in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East at the Divinity School of the University of Chicago. My research explores how modern social structures and political experiences influence the ways in which we reconstruct ancient history. I combine this broader approach with a study of primary sources to develop new paradigms for understanding the intersection between political hegemony and religious imagination in ancient Israel and Judah. I also teach Hebrew Bible at Saint Joseph's University in Philadelphia . In addition to preparing me for graduate work, the teaching and mentoring I enjoyed in the Cornell NES department is the model I use for my own pedagogy.
Elias Saba '08 completed his Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania and will continue on to teach at Grinnell College!
Umair Khan '03 is currently working at the Office of New York City Public Advocate Letitia James as Deputy Counsel. He previously served as Assistant Counsel to State Senator Parker in the office of the Majority Whip. He started in the New York Senate as a Graduate Fellow with State Senator Bill Perkins. While at the Senate, Umair has led on a number of critical issues that include: education, energy, civil rights, health care, land use, financial and public authorities reform. Before arriving in Albany, Umair served as the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies fellow with Congressman Mike Honda and a Legislative Assistant to Congressman Bob Filner. He was also a founder of the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association. Umair is a graduate of Albany Law School, where he was an Associate Editor on the Albany Government Law Review, and received his bachelor's degree in Government and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University.
Hussein Hirji '03 is the Economic Counsellor at the Embassy of Canada in Washington. He completed his Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University, before pursuing his Master’s in Development Economics at the University of London. He worked for the Aga Khan Development Network in Syria, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan before returning to Canada where he managed development projects in Egypt and Afghanistan. Since joining the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Hussein has covered the West Bank and Gaza and Middle East Peace Process, has been part of Canada’s delegation to the UN General Assembly, has covered Canada’s nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation policy and has been posted to the Representative Office of Canada in Ramallah.