Strengthening national security through critical language and culture expertise
I studied Arabic in Ifrane, Morocco through the SUNY-Binghamton Exchange Program at Al Akhawayn University, where I was able to experience the culture and better understand the political struggles of the Arab peoples in ways that textbooks could never cover. During my study abroad experience, I attended protests in the capital, Rabat, on issues ranging from discontent of Morocco's lack of involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian situation to the advancement of women's rights.
I studied Burmese and Thai on a University of Wisconsin-Madison program in Chiang Mai, Thailand, while researching the underworld of drug-trafficking and insurgency in both Thailand and Burma.
I spent six months doing field research in Chad (C. Africa) and one semester of advanced-level Arabic study to help facilitate my stay there. My research looks at the welfare impacts of various economic booms on different socio-economic groups of poorer nations.
Notably, I was able to consult on the LLIS project while I continued to live in Turkey after concluding my Boren Fellowship; I remained in Turkey for over a year and a half. This additional time in Turkey enabled me to further improve my Turkish and expand my research on Turkish civil-military relations. This research resulted in my International Relations MA thesis on "Turkish Interpretations of Westernization: Creating a Cultural Context for Military Influence and Intervention in Politics" (MA degree granted from the Johns Hopkins' School for Advanced International Studies).
Living in Turkey renewed my previous interest in anthropology, and I returned to the United States (US) to begin an Anthropology PhD program at Brown University. My research interests include military subcultures and the cultural context of violence, war, and militarization. My current research focus is on the US military, and I recently completed independent summer research at the Joint Forces Staff College (JFSC) on the issue of cultural awareness education and training in the US military. Throughout that academic year, I also was involved in the Watson Institute's Cultural Awareness in the Military project, which brings together military practitioners and social scientists to explore both the ethical and the practical challenges of instilling cultural awareness in the military.
I study Russian at the Portland State University Russian Flagship Program. I am pursuing dual degrees in Russian and Architecture and plan to use my professional-level fluency to work as an architect for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collaborating on projects with Russian speaking nations.
I am a native speaker of Urdu born in Karachi, Pakistan, and a U.S. citizen since 2003. I hold a Masters degree in Journalism from the University of Karachi, and a graduate of the EHLS Georgetown University program.
Through Project Global Officer I studied Russian in Russia. Participating in Project GO has been one of the most eye opening and exhilarating experiences in my life. It allowed me the opportunity to travel internationally and interact with people of a different culture. This experience has enhanced my language learning skills and will serve useful in further learning the language and learning other languages in my future career in the Air Force.
I studied Swahili in Kenya through Project Global Officer. Before this program, I had a very sheltered and media-based view of what life was like in Kenya and the rest of Africa, but I now have a drastically different and more accurate view . . . values such as the term "harambee" meaning "to pull together" run their society and I have a high respect for how faithful they remain to these values. This new understanding has given me a determination to become involved in AFRICOM in my military career and become as involved as possible in the humanitarian efforts and improving United States-Africa relations.