Category: Featured News, News

Title: Student Spotlight: A MAAS-terful Summer

This summer, our students kept very busy with thesis research, internships, and intensive language classes. Check out highlights from three students below!

Shifaa Alsairafi

MAAS student Shifaa Alsairafi conducted thesis research in Bahrain this summer and interned with a production company that aims to be a voice for Arab artists and creatives particularly in the Gulf. “I conducted an interview with a teacher, her daughter who is a high school student, and a guidance counselor, who had worked at my old school. The interview was wonderful, not only because it helped me draw an image of education from the perspective of the teachers that raised me, but it also was a moment of reconnection between my mother, who is a retired teacher, and my interlocutors. As they reminisce and laughed about the most thrilling and most ridiculous moments of their teaching careers, I could not help but think of how special it was, that we were all there in my mother’s kitchen, a few different generations, speaking to the ways that public education has impacted our lives and rekindling a connection that was otherwise lost.”

Said Bakr

Said Bakr was a Research Assistant Intern at the Gulf International Forum. Said’s role involved in-depth exploration of political, economic, and security issues in the nine regional Gulf states. He is co-authoring an extensive report that sheds light on Saudi foreign policy and its impact on different regions around the world. Blending historical context with present-day occurrences, Said enriches understanding on topics like U.S.-Saudi relations and GCC-Iran dynamics. His ability to think critically about current political events ensures accurate research. Aspiring international relations students who are interested in the Middle East can benefit from his advice to stay curious, read extensively, travel to the region, and build professional networks.

Molly Pasquarella

Molly Pasquarella was student at Sijal institute in Jordan. Molly immersed herself in an enriching journey of language and culture. Embracing the immersive Arabic environment, Molly’s time at Sijal has fueled remarkable progress, both in and out of the classroom.

Exploring Arabic intricacies, Molly’s advanced core class honed her grammar and vocabulary skills, while her exploration of the Palestinian resistance movement deepened her understanding of complex topics. Her passion extends beyond linguistic mastery to calligraphy, where she finds joy and challenge.

Sijal’s rigorous regimen empowered Molly’s complete language immersion, fostering a profound understanding beyond academics. Inspired by her international studies major, Molly seamlessly integrates Arabic into research on displacement and migration, enriching her understanding.

A content-based Arabic class captivated Molly, expanding her vocabulary and engagement with intricate issues. Beyond academics, a vibrant art gallery tour of Amman allowed Molly to connect with local artists and acquire historic artwork, exemplifying her appreciation for art and history.

Molly Pasquarella’s dedication embodies Sijal’s commitment to linguistic excellence and cultural understanding, leaving an indelible mark on her academic and personal growth journey.