As a native St.Louisan who primarily grew up on the Illinois side of the Mississippi River, I have always lived with an awareness that community identity is constructed–explaining to an outsider that St.Louis is a bi-state community albeit technically bounded in Missouri, and that we in Illinois are not Cubs’ fans, is a headache. This lived experience, as well as the development of my identity as a third-generation Egyptian immigrant over time, has inspired me to pursue the answers to a central question: How do individuals construct boundaries of communities, and with what consequences?
At the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, I have pursued a range of questions related to political behavior and party politics, with a focus on Europe and the United States. Currently, I am researching the religious bases of community identity and attitudes towards out-groups such as religious minorities and refugees (see my Research page above for more on my dissertation). I aim to conduct research that is relevant to policymakers and civil society leaders for improving the quality of life for marginalized populations. While attending UNC, I have also served as a committee director for National Model United Nations conferences in New York, where I have been inspired by many young future leaders.
I completed my B.S. in Political Science and my B.A. in Spanish at Texas Christian University in 2016. While at TCU, I researched domestic minor sex trafficking with Thorn: Digital Defenders of Children. I was also an NSF fellow with the Research Experience for Undergraduates at the University of North Texas, where I studied European integration and immigration attitudes.
Outside of my day job, you can find me studying languages, learning yoga as a sacred and secular practice or honing my cooking skills while contemplating how food builds community identities. (Thank a St.Louisian today for giving toasted ravioli to the world). You can also find me writing about travel at https://www.adventuresofatravelersheart.wordpress.com/.