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The College of Arts Sciences

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""  Magdalene Murphy '17

Magdalene 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. Madgalene was interviewed for the A&S "Exeptional Senior" series.

""  Xinyi Chen '17

Xinyi 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. Xinyi was interviewed for the A&S "Exceptional Senior" series.

""  Sarah Cutler ’16

Sarah graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Near Eastern Studies and Government. After graduation, she joined Booz Allen Hamilton’s Tampa office to work with U.S. military clients on target audience analysis, strategic messaging and other efforts to counter violent extremist organizations. Thanks to her four years studying Arabic on campus and in Cornell’s al-Mashriq program in Amman, Jordan, she was able to help translate and edit Arabic documents for her team. In August, she also had the opportunity to travel with her team to a U.S. Marines-sponsored symposium in Aqaba, Jordan.

In September, Sarah moved back to Washington, D.C. Still with Booz Allen, Sarah provides research and analysis to help improve a variety of Department of Defense processes. In the long term, Sarah hopes to work in the intelligence community.

Sarah writes: “One of the most rewarding parts of the work I’ve done has been collaborating with native Arabic speakers to accurately translate documents to reflect not only their literal meaning, but also the authors’ style and intended tone. I’ve been lucky to have mentors with substantial experience in this field there to show me the ropes – that’s made all the difference.”

""  Tara Kheradpir '14

Tara 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

Laura 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

Priscilla 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

Alexandra 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."

""  Jacob Shapiro '10

Since graduating from Cornell in 2010 Jacob has been around the world -- working for a private intelligence firm called Stratfor in Texas, earning a Master's in Jewish Studies from the University of Oxford, backpacking my way through Europe and the Middle East, studying Talmud for a year at Mechon Hadar in New York City. In 2015, he made his way back to Texas to help start a company called Geopolitical Futures -- an online, subscription-based publication dedicated to objective analysis of global politics. "Little did I realize at the time just how sorely that kind of sober analysis would soon be needed," says Shapiro.

""  Ariela (Rutkin-Becker) Rutbeck-Goldman '09

Ariela spent her first few years out of Cornell teaching special education through DC Teaching Fellows, and working with tribal youth in California through AmeriCorps, before attending UC Irvine School of Law.  Now a legal services attorney in New York and New Jersey, Rutbeck-Goldman attributes her preparation for a career in public service to NES and the undergraduate experiences she had learning about different cultures surrounded by a small, supportive group of faculty and fellow students.

""  Amy Pearlman '09

Amy 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

Elias 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 

Umair Khan 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 

Hussein Hirji 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.

Of Note:

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.