- NES Alumni Profiles
- Tina Al-khersan, BA, 2017
- Zahir Allarakhia, BA, 2017
- Emily Feuka, BS, 2017
- Arwa Raza, BS, 2017
- Seif-Eldeen Basheer Saqallah, BA, 2017
- Leah Spellberg, BA, 2017
- Ryan Strong, BBA and BA, 2017
- Rona Beresh, BA, 2015
- Layan Charara, BA, 2015
- Alison M. Vacca, PhD, 2013
- Craig W. Tyson; MA, 2006; PhD, 2011
- Jonathan Trotter, BA, 2008
- Muhammad Aziz, PhD, 2004
- Sara Omar, BA, 2003
- Azadeh Shahshahani, BA, 2001
- Robert D. Miller II, PhD, 1998
- Kevin Sullivan; BA, 1994; MA, 1998
- Chave Bahle, MA, 1994
- April DeConick, PhD, 1994
Field of Study: MA in Near Eastern Studies; PhD in Near Eastern Studies - Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israelite History
Graduation Year: 2006 (MA), 2011 (PhD)
I always reflect fondly on my time in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Michigan because of the people in it and because of the ways my program shaped my intellectual life and teaching practice. I graduated from Michigan in 2011 with a Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies (Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israelite History). Without a doubt, one of the greatest things I gained from NES was an appetite for investigating the world in the broadest possible way. My program in Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israelite History pushed my language skills and engagement with other fields such as anthropology, and gave me the opportunity to participate in archaeological excavations. These things led to a successful dissertation (and now book), as well as continued participation in archaeology. Though I still consider myself a faux-archaeologist, I have joined a team working in Jordan, first at Tall al-‘Umayri near Amman, and this year at the beautiful basalt site of Khirbat al-Balu‘a further south in Jordan.
My research has been published in the 2014 book The Ammonites: Elites, Empires, and Sociopolitical Change (1000–500 BCE). (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark) as well as a variety of journals. A book that I co-edited with Virginia R. Hermmann entitled, The Periphery in the Neo-Assyrian Period, is in its final stage of review with the University Press of Colorado. I also have a contract with the Society of Biblical Literature for a broader history of the Ammonites.
Beyond research endeavors, NES prepared me well for teaching. While at Michigan I was a GSI for Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, the Bible as Literature, and Great Books. Being part of these classes taught me much about how to present the study of religion to students, and seriously pushed my skills in grading student writing. I continue to use those ideas and skills to this day.
Currently, I teach Religious Studies at D’Youville College in Buffalo, NY, where I have been since 2012. In my position as Assistant Professor, I have taught courses on the Bible, World Religions, Comparative Religious Ethics, Death and Dying, and most recently a course on the Holocaust. As of September 1, 2017, I have been promoted to Associate Professor with tenure.