Hometown: Springfield, Ill.
Major: Middle Eastern studies and history (European concetration) major
Favorite Northwestern hangout? I’m a big fan of the reading room at Deering Library. When I have to spend good, 12-hour stretches in the library, I go to Deering.
Top accomplishments: My thesis, which is on Hezbollah and how its religious aspects have changed. It’s a quantitative analysis of Hezbollah’s rhetoric over time and how the organization’s rhetoric has become less religious.
On winning the Lincoln Laureate: It was definitely a nice surprise. Growing up in Lincoln’s hometown, I was always aware of how impressive the man was — particularly when Lincoln’s tomb, Lincoln’s old law office, even Lincoln’s church were all regular milestones on my high school cross-country runs. It was exciting to be a part of a ceremony encouraging Lincoln’s values.
Your greatest adventure? Lebanon was amazing. The diversity drew me in. Lebanon is such an interesting mix of Muslim and Christian, as well as Arab and European, cultures. I’m an avid people watcher, so seeing so many cultures together was fascinating.
We saw Crusaders’ castles, Roman ruins and ancient artifacts. We also saw many buildings that were still in ruins or being rebuilt from the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah.
What’s next? I really enjoyed my think tank work with the Center for American Progress in Washington, D.C. My research interests are related to Middle Eastern and Central Asian conflicts and politics, particularly insurgency movements, as well as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
I’d like to continue with research in some capacity, but I more see myself going to into public sector work. I would definitely like to get my PhD in international relations at some point, but we’ll see where I can fit that in.
Your dream job? It probably would be doing research for the government. I’m still thinking about going into the military, working in intelligence on the research side.
Any regrets? I’m a White Sox fan. I do regret that the Sox didn’t win the World Series while I was here.