Current CASA Fellows

2021-2022 CASA Fellows Bios

We have another talented group of Fellows for the 2021-2022 year studying with our Qasid Institute faculty in Amman. You are welcome to review their bios below.

Chloe-Kate Abel graduated from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland with first-class honors in Arabic and Persian Language, Literature, and Culture and is currently a Presidential Fellow at Al-Akhawayn University in Ifrane, Morocco. She previously studied Arabic through the NSLI-Y scholarship in Rabat and has worked during her summers in Nablus and Cairo. Her interests include photography, human rights, and researching the intersections of politics and culture in music and film. After CASA, she hopes to pursue an MA in Middle Eastern studies and one day be a journalist or work for an organization promoting the arts in the region.  

Zach Bampton recently graduated from Princeton University with a BA in Politics. He has studied Arabic several times in Jordan, including at the Qasid Institute. Before CASA, Zach worked for Arab Barometer as a research assistant while volunteering for the Human Trafficking Legal Center as a tutor. He hopes to pursue a career in diplomacy and human rights.

John Burden is a PhD student at the University of Chicago, where he focuses on Islamic law. He is particularly interested in medieval Islamic legal theory and reasoning. Before coming to the University of Chicago, he completed an MA in Islamic Studies at the University of Oxford. John has previously studied Arabic in Amman and has also lived and worked in Morocco.

John (Jack) Carew received his BA in Comparative Literature and Global Health at Middlebury College in 2020. After studying Arabic, Spanish, and Mandarin there, he conducted a Fulbright research grant investigating the intersections of climate change, zoonotic diseases, and rural-urban migration in Morocco. John intends to continue to work with local communities to facilitate culturally appropriate interventions against communicable diseases through future graduate studies in epidemiology and environmental health.  

Connor Echols graduated in 2020 from Northwestern University, where he majored in Journalism and Middle East and North African Studies. Before CASA, he covered foreign policy as an opinion journalist. In the future, Connor hopes to pursue a PhD in MENA Studies or History with a focus on the rise of Arab nationalism in the early 20th century Levant. 

Sean Emery is a graduate from Swarthmore College, with a BA in Peace & Conflict Studies and a minor in Arabic and Linguistics. His interests include global history, linguistics, and education.

Frank Faverzani is a graduate of Georgetown University's Walsh School of Foreign Service where he received a BA in Foreign Service and an MA in Arab Studies. He is interested in the modern social and cultural history of the Mediterranean, especially regarding food, wine, and the environment. He is Wine and Spirit Education Trust Level II certified and actively writes about food and wine with recent work featured in Eater. After CASA, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in history. 

James Fennessey is a graduate of Denison University with a double major in Mathematics and Music. He studied Arabic in Morocco and Jordan post-graduation. He hopes to pursue a career in government service in the future.

Ruth Folmar is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin, where she majored in History, Plan II Honors, and Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures. Her research interests center on Arab intellectual history, inter-religious dialogue, and nationalism. Her recent work deals with Nasserist Egypt’s revolutionary classroom — ideological state-building through the education system both in Egypt and the wider Arab world. Ruth grew up as an ex-pat in the United Arab Emirates, which sparked her interest in the Arabic language and the modern Middle East. Having previously spent time volunteering at the Zarqa Women’s Center in Northern Jordan, she looks forward to returning to the country as a CASA fellow.

Avery Gonzales graduated with honors from Yale University in 2020 with a BA in Modern Middle Eastern Studies and Arabic Language. In 2021, he completed his MSc in Comparative and International Education at Oxford University, where he researched trauma-informed education in Lebanese schools. He hopes to work as an education policy researcher in an international aid organization, and eventually teach high school history. In his free time, Avery enjoys running, mountain biking, playing the guitar, and reading. 

Matthew Petti graduated from Columbia University with a BA in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies. He has also worked as a reporter for the National Interest and Responsible Statecraft, and as a freelancer both in the United States and abroad. After the CASA program, Matthew plans to continue in his career as a journalist covering issues of importance around the world.

Samuel Prentice graduated from Princeton University in 2020 with a BA in Near Eastern Studies. In college, he studied Arabic and Persian and wrote his thesis on literary form and economic history in Iran, Central Asia, and India. Through the CASA program, he hopes to continue his study of Arabic and his education in the literature, philosophy, and political history of the Middle East.

Naoise Reynolds graduated from Middlebury College in 2020 with a BA in Political Science and Arabic. He is excited to return to Amman where he studied in the spring of 2019 with Middlebury’s language school. After CASA, Naoise is interested in combining his knowledge of Arabic with his interest in legal studies. 

Richard Sacco received his BA in Arabic from UCLA and completed his MA in Arab Studies from Georgetown University, with a graduate certificate in Refugees and Humanitarian Emergencies. He has previously studied Arabic in Jordan and worked as a volunteer in Palestine. After the CASA program, he plans to pursue a career in refugee resettlement and humanitarian relief.

Natalie Sullivan received her MA in Applied Linguistics from the University of Maryland and her BA in Middle Eastern Languages & Cultures from the University of Texas at Austin. She previously studied Arabic in Morocco and taught English there on a Fulbright grant. Her primary interests are in second language acquisition, translation, and psycholinguistics. 

Skyler Tucker is a recent graduate of UCLA with a BA in Arabic. She assisted in the launch team for the UCLA Subtitle Project where she subtitled and translated videos from Arabic to English. In addition, she previously completed a summer program in Advanced Lebanese Arabic at the American University of Beirut. Her interests include language, linguistics, culture, translation, and humanitarian work. 

Liza Tumen graduated from The George Washington University with a BA in International Affairs and Middle East Studies. Before CASA, Liza worked for the Fulbright Foreign Student Program in the Middle East and North Africa at AMIDEAST. She has taught English in Morocco as a Fulbright ETA and worked for a local NGO in Amman, Jordan.