American Culture announced Iliria Camaj and Sarah Khan as the 2015-2016 Joel S. Siegel Scholarship recipients. As always, American Culture received many excellent nominations from across our constituent programs. Although the final decision proved a difficult one, we are delighted to name these two truly fantastic students from within American Culture’s Arab and Muslim American Studies Program (AMAS) as our honorees. Iliria Camaj represents the idealism and intellectual rigor that we think are the hallmarks of our department. Now in the middle of her junior year, Iliria has distinguished herself academically as an honors student. She also has assembled an impressive dossier of experiences beyond our campus, including an internship with the U.S. Department of State. Despite that busy schedule, Iliria has taken on major leadership roles, like being the President of the Albanian American Student Organization.  She has a set of interlinking interests in law, international security, and Arab and Muslim populations in the United States. Without doubt Sarah Kahn matches Iliria’s drive and achievements. Sarah came to our department because she yearned for a deeper understanding about the ways that race and religion intersected with Muslim identities in the United States. Since that time, she has thrived in our AMAS program. Currently she is composing an honors thesis that questions U.S. policy, human rights, and the post 9/11 world. Moreover, she received a fellowship to study Urdu through a global health lens. This past year, she worked with the Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning to develop tools that will help student organizations evaluate and compile resources centered on K-12 literacy. Sarah plans on pursuing law school so that she might become a legal expert and advocate for those imprisoned in the U.S. and beyond.

Congratulations to both!