1. What drew you to study the Near East?
I probably saw Indiana Jones too young. But really, I have always been fascinated with the languages of the Near East. Ever since I first saw Hebrew and Cuneiform, I knew I wanted to learn how to read them and from that, I got interested in the literature, culture, and archaeology of the Ancient Near East.
2. Where do you hope to be in the future and how do you hope to use your degree?
The goal is to be a professor of Hebrew Bible and teach Digital Humanities as well.
3. What is your topic of research and what, for you, is most exciting or interesting about it?
My interests are in Hebrew Bible, Near Eastern archaeology, and the Digital Humanities. I am really excited by looking at these ancient texts and cultures that still influence our society today with new technologies that open a whole new dimension of the texts.
4. Reflect on your experiences as an NES grad student. How has NES changed the way you think about the world?
In my short time here as a grad student, I have had a great time. I have been exposed to so many new ways of thinking that have changed how I read ancient texts. The emphasis on social history that many of the professors have has really opened my eyes to how the ancient texts can be used to understand modern social roles.
5. What class(es) are you most excited about taking and why?
The classes that I am most excited about are Hebrew and Akkadian; it is really satisfying to be able to read ancient literature the way it was meant to be read. Another class that has been really great and influential to me is Text Mining for History and Literature in the Information Science Department.
6. Have you traveled or do you hope to travel anywhere in the Middle East? If so, where? How would you describe your experience abroad?
I have been to Israel and Jordan. I have been to Israel twice for archaeology at Tel Azekah, and I love it there. While I was there, I went everywhere from the most northern place at Rosh Hanikra all the way down to the Gulf of Aqaba. The one time I was in Jordan, we camped in Wadi Rum with some Bedouin and then hiked through Petra and Jordan with some of the nicest people in the world.
7. Who/what has been most influential for you during your time here in the Department of Near Eastern Studies?
So far Lauren Monroe has been the most influential person for me. She has pushed me into research that I was uncomfortable with at first and pushed my Hebrew skills to new places, but ultimately made me a better student. Dr. Tenney has also been influential by introducing me to the greatness of the Akkadian language and the literature of Mesopotamia.