Current CASA Fellows

2020-2021 CASA Fellow Bios

We have another talented group of Fellows for the 2020-2021 year studying with our Qasid Institute faculty in Amman. You are welcome to review their bios below.

Taher Dahleh graduated from New York University with a bachelor's degree in Mathematics in 2016. A Palestinian-American and member of Brooklyn's Arab community, he is interested in teaching Arabic language in the US with the needs of this community in mind. After CASA, he plans to pursue a career as a bilingual educator in NYC public schools.

Amatunoor Frederickson is a recent graduate of the Master of Divinity program at the University of Chicago and completed her B.A. in Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University. Her studies have concentrated on the Arabic language, history and society of the Modern Middle East, and women’s rights in Islam. She has studied Arabic in Egypt on a FLAS scholarship in 2018 and aims to work as an interpreter or pursue further graduate study after the CASA program.

Naay Idriss is a recent graduate of Columbia University, where she holds a BA in Anthropology and Comparative Literature and Society. Her focus in Anthropology was on indigenous and postcolonial theories/practices of race, sexuality, and culture. Her comparative literature major centered on Arabic and French anti-colonial literary productions, poetics, and the political imagery, with a particular focus on Palestinian literature of resistance and their contemporary manifestations as alternative forms of radical pedagogy.

Alexander Kochenburger graduated from the College of the Holy Cross in 2017 with a B.A. in International Studies. He previously studied Arabic in Morocco and also taught English in the country on a Fulbright grant. Before CASA, he worked at AMIDEAST as a Fulbright advisor with students from Bahrain, Yemen, and the UAE pursuing graduate degrees in the US. His primary interests lie in international education, youth engagement, and human rights.

Nick Lobo graduated from Davidson College magna cum laude with an A.B. in Political Science and Arab Studies in 2020. While at Davidson he taught Arabic classes and tutoring sessions and spent two semesters and three summers studying abroad in Beirut and Amman. Apart from Modern Standard and Levantine Arabic, he has studied Persian, Hebrew, and French. His research interests include translation, comparative morphology and diglossia in Semitic languages, and Islamic mysticism. After CASA, he plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern/Semitic Languages, Linguistics, or Islamic Studies.

Benjamin Lotto is a recent graduate of New York University with a double major in International Relations and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. His academic interests include international relations of the Middle East, Arabic language, US politics, Middle Eastern history (particularly in the Gulf and Israel/Palestine), and conflict resolution. Extracurricularly, Benjamin loves martial arts and hopes post-CASA to pursue conflict mediation and human rights advocacy in Israel and Palestine.

Eamon Ormseth graduated with majors in History and Central & SW Asian Studies from the University of Montana, where he wrote a thesis about Arab immigration to the United States. He has volunteered as an English teacher in Palestine, served as a study abroad coordinator in Morocco, and helped resettle refugees in Montana. After CASA, Eamon hopes to begin graduate studies about the history of migration and conflict in the Middle East as well as stay involved in grassroots organizing.

Maggie Sager is a Ph.D. student in the Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies department at New York University. She earned her BA in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of California Berkeley, and her MA in Modern Middle Eastern History at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the regulation and conceptualization of sexual morality in the medieval Islamic scholarly tradition.

Leah Squires received her MA/MPP from the University of Michigan. Her research unites public policy, migration and human rights, and storytelling, She ultimately hopes to influence policy in order to protect the rights of migrants, especially those displaced by climate shocks. Leah first learned Moroccan Darija as a Peace Corps Volunteer before choosing to study Arabic in graduate school; she was a FLAS Fellow and also a Davis Fellow for Peace at Middlebury Language Schools.

Christopher Wedeman grew up largely in Amman, Cairo, and East Jerusalem. He received a BA in History from Bowdoin College in 2015 and subsequently worked as a cultural mediator in Rome with a refugee resettlement initiative and as a conflict mediator in New York City Public schools. He is dedicated to music, literature, and activism for political, economic, and social change.