By Robby Griswold
Jannah grew up in Macomb, Michigan, but her family’s roots trace back to Iraq. She’s on a personal mission to repair the relationship between the U.S. and Iraq, and her undergraduate resume demonstrates that. She loves to belly dance, which originates from the Arab world, and she brought her passion for it to the Residential College when she volunteered to lead the Dance Forum, setting into motion a multicultural approach for the group that had previously been focused on western style choreography. She enrolled in RC intensive French because in order to work throughout the Arab world, she says, “you need to know English, Arabic and French. Speaking critical languages is important.” She grew up fluent in both English and Arabic, and now has a minor in French. Her major is LSA Computer Science, and it is this credential that made her eligible to apply for a new program funded through the Washington Center called the Foreign Affairs IT (FAIT) Fellowship.
At the time of her application, the program was only accepting two undergraduate fellows in the U.S. with an academic focus (as a major or minor) on information technology that wanted to apply those skills in the Foreign Service. Jannah was ecstatic when she was selected, not only because of the stiff competition, but because it funds the last two years of her U-M undergraduate education, provides her with an internship in Washington, D.C. as well as one at a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad which leads directly to a full-time job as an information management specialist at the same agency afterward. Now in her senior year, she completed her D.C. internship this past summer at the Department of State where she learned how the department is run, and she is awaiting official confirmation of her placement this summer and beyond.
Jannah’s excitement about FAIT is infectious, and she sees herself as an ambassador of the program just as she is with all of her passions. FAIT is a natural next step on her journey to mediate a more positive and productive relationship between Iraq and the U.S.
FAIT is expanding to 12 undergraduate and eight graduate student fellows next year. To share her experiences and to encourage current second year RC students to apply by the February 2020 deadline, she’ll be meeting with interested students on January 15 from 12-1pm in the East Quad Private Dining Room.
Congratulations, Jannah, and thank you for sharing your passions with us at the Residential College!