Alumni

  • Stephen graduated from our MA program in summer 2017. He graduated from UIUC with a BA in History. His academic path has been shaped by courses in political science and geopolitics that sparked his interest in Middle Eastern studies. He has occasionally focused on the Iranian revolution when...
  • Will Velez is an incoming MA student for the Fall 2016 semester. He obtained a BA from UIUC, doubling majoring in Political Science and Spanish and minoring in Arabic Studies. He was awarded a Foreign Languages and Area Studies fellowship by the center for Global Studies for the 2016-2017 school...
  • Natasha Samreny pursued her master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic, graduating in Spring 2010. She moved from Tampa Bay where she reported and produced daily and in-depth news for WUSF 89.7 FM. Samreny graduated cum laude in 2006 from the University of South Florida with a BA in...
  • After completing her MFA in Sculpture/Painting at UIUC in 2007, Rashelle wanted to continue her studies with a focus on Middle Eastern cultures. She is interested in both traditional and contemporary artwork from the region. Rashelle enjoyed participating in an Artists' Residency in Kapadokya,...
  • Umair Rasheed graduated from our program in December 2014. He completed his undergraduate studies in Politics and Economics from the Lahore University of Management Sciences in 2009. Upon graduating, he joined the then newly-launched English language newspaper, The Express Tribune, as a...
  • David graduated from the CSAMES MA program in Spring 2016. As an undergraduate, David graduated summa cum laude and with highest distinction in history from the University of Illinois, He returned to join the MA program to further develop his language skills in Arabic and Persian, as well as pursue...
  • Jeffrey Peyton joined the CSAMES MA program in Fall 2008, with the Middle East specialization. His primary interest is in religion in the Middle East; in particular, he plans to examine interreligious relations and relations between states and minority religions in the region. Jeff grew up in...
  • Matthew Niemi entered the CSAMES MA program (Middle East focus) in Fall 2010, soon after completing his undergraduate degree at UIUC in International Studies (Middle East focus) and with a minor in Linguistics, making this his sixth year on campus. He is fascinated by how people form their belief...
  • Sarah Lazare is working as a staff writer for Common Dreams, a progressive news and views publication based in Portland, Maine. Since graduating from CSAMES, she has also worked as a freelance journalist in Egypt and Palestine.
  • Darakhshan Khan graduated from our program in May 2009 with a master’s in Asian studies, focusing on South Asia. Her area of interest is religion, gender, and Islamic revivalist movements in South Asia. Darakhshan has a bachelor’s degree in microbiology and has worked as a journalist in her...
  • Matt was a recipient of both the Summer 2016 Center of African Studies FLAS fellowship and the Academic Year 2016-2017 CAS FLAS. In summer 2016 he took Arabic here at UIUC through the SILMW (Summer Institute for Languages of the Muslim World) program. In the academic year he will be taking...
  • Ambar graduated from our MA program in summer 2016. She entered the CSAMES MA program in the Fall of 2013 with the Middle East specialization. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Islamic Civilization and Societies from Boston College and has also studied in Morocco. Ambar’s past...
  • Duygu is from Istanbul, Turkey, where she lived all her life before coming to the US in 2007. She studied in Istanbul University and has a BA and MA in economics. Duygu graduated from the CSAMES MA in Spring 2010. Her interests are the formation of the ethnic identities in the Middle East and in...
  • Courtney Averkamp earned her MA in Religious Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign where she focused on Hinduism and Buddhism. Her current research interests revolve around religions in and of South Asia. She is a Teaching Assistant for Asian Mythology and World Religions.
  • Eduardo is a graduate student in the M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies program at CSAMES. He completed his bachelor’s degree in Political Science at the University of Illinois Chicago. At this institution the department of Political Science granted him Highest Distinction for his honors thesis “The...