Aaron enjoys learning about how culture, economics, and politics all interact to shape society. He believes that language plays a large role in understanding culture, and even deeper, how it shapes policy. Learning Arabic is a hobby of Aaron’s, because he loves the language, the food, and music. Aaron plans to learn how to read and write Hindi, in order to expand his language skills. Aaron is a recipient of UMD’s Presidential Scholarship and has interned at the U.S. Census Bureau – Foreign Trade Division.


Allyson’s passion for languages and cultures grew after participating in a ten-month exchange program to Spain in High School. In college, she wanted to challenge herself with a critical language and Arabic has such a wonderful culture and history that her decision was made easy. Allyson is interested in International Relations and is a recipient of AROTC Merit scholarship. She loves traveling and interacting with foreign cultures as well as playing sports. She plans on commissioning into the US Army as an officer upon graduation.


Anat is a Banneker-Key scholar whose academic interests include international science projects, women in NGOs, and the role of translation in media reporting. She hopes to use her Arabic skills to bridge communication and cultural gaps between residents in the Middle East and the NGOs that aim to serve them. When she's not in class, Anat likes to work out and reread her favorite childhood books.


After studying both Spanish and French, Brooke began learning Arabic through the STARTALK program.  Given her love of language, Brooke was captivated by the history and unique quirks of Arabic.  As a student at Maryland, she has combined Arabic with a major in Communications through which she studies what motivates people to communicate.  Outside of school, Brooke serves as a Community Assistant for Resident Life and enjoys cooking and baking.  In the future, Brooke hopes to put her Arabic skills to use working for the Federal Government.  



Chelsea’s hope is that Arabic can give her a fuller understanding of Middle Eastern culture and eventually she would like to live there, or work closely with the region, with a non-profit combating human right violations. Outside of school, she is a volunteer leader of a high school based ministry called Young Life and enjoys reading, playing soccer and basically any outdoor activity. Chelsea is mostly interested in International Relations, specifically in the Middle East and Africa. Within that, she is interested in the role of religion and human right abuses.


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Devon began studying Arabic after mastering another notoriously difficult language- American Sign Language. He jumped in by studying in an immersion school in Tetouan, Morocco for 14 months, studying both Modern Standard Arabic and Moroccan dialect. He has used his language skills in internships to research Arabic-English translation and linguistics and provide real time interpretation. Devon hopes to eventually earn his Ph.D. in Arabic and Persian Studies and go into a career as an interpreter to help improve international relations and diplomacy.



Garrett chose Arabic after graduating from the STARTALK program in high school and was awarded a 4 year scholarship through the US Army. His future goals are to serve in Military Intelligence and Civilian Affairs both in military and in private/government sectors. Garrett is a recipient of the Army ROTC Scholarship and is a member of the UMD Color Guard team. His academic interests include Arabic Studies, Terrorism Studies, and International Relations. He is an avid soccer fan, especially Chelsea FC, and is also part of the Pistol and Rifle club where he shoots frequently. 


Jacqueline first studied Arabic with STARTALK in high school, and she has been hooked ever since! She hopes to use her interests in Middle Eastern art, culture, and history to build a career in diplomacy and conflict resolution. Jacqueline also studied Italian intensively in high school, studied abroad in Italy, and created the first chapter of the National Italian Honor Society. 


John began to study Arabic because of its rich history and the interesting nature of dialects and MSA. Alongside his academic studies, John works as a Research Assistant in the Linguistics Department, where he is studying syntactic prediction, which gives us tools like autocorrect and Slide on smartphones. John hopes to combine all of his academic interests in his future career by developing language processing software or language-learning curriculum. 



Marina attended Salisbury University for her freshman year. While there, she only took Arabic because it was one of the few language classes that fit into her schedule. Little did she know, Arabic Studies would become her passion and prompted her to transfer to UMD specifically for the Flagship Program. Marina hopes to learn everything she can about the Arabic language, as well as culture. She is interested in adding on the Global Terrorism minor in the future. Marina loves to fence and enjoys listening to music. She has played the violin since she was 8 years old. She hopes to incorporate her love for travel into her future career and become an avenue for communication and understanding across cultures.


Matthew was drawn to Arabic because of his love of studying languages and his interest in the Middle East’s many different cultures. He joins our Flagship program after a summer study abroad in Morocco. Matthew is also an athlete and an avid sports fan; he is a member of the triathlon club at UMD and a former soccer player. In his future career, he hopes to become a diplomat and improve relations between the Arab world and the West. 


Since high school, Maya has known she wants to focus on Middle Eastern politics, so she decided early on that studying Arabic would help her better understand the region. She’s hoping to use this focus to work in either foreign policy, human rights advocacy, or international development (or a combination of the three). She has studied abroad three times so far (in Morocco, Oman, and Jordan), and is really excited to be going abroad again through the Arabic Flagship. Maya is a Banneker/Key Scholar and is currently undergoing a Special Projects Internship at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism. Maya’s academic interests include languages and Middle Eastern Politics. She is about to start writing her undergraduate thesis focusing on nonviolence within Palestinian resistance movements. Maya is very involved with the debate team on campus, and in her free time she likes reading and playing guitar.


Megan is involved in many different organizations on campus. She is a Resident Assistant in Denton Hall, and the PanHellenic Association Delegate for her sorority Phi Sigma Sigma. She also volunteers by mentoring at a juvenile detention center in DC through a program called Justice for Juniors. Megan is interested in languages, which is why she is studying both French and Arabic. She hopes to minor in Global Terrorism and focus her criminology studies on international security in a government career.


Miriam was first exposed to Arabic during her time in Israel and was fascinated by the cultural, religion, and history of Islam and the Arab world. Her academic interests include national security and international development, and she is on the Distinguished Dean's List of Outstanding Students. When she is not studying, Miriam gives campus tours with IMAGES and enjoys scuba diving, travelling, hiking, and searching for the best cup of coffee in the DMV.


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Nicholas is a UMD Presidential Scholar who is also interested in writing, philosophy, film, and history. He was drawn to Arabic because of its cultural, historic, and religious roots. He hopes to one day work in education with his Arabic skills. In his free time, Nicholas enjoys reading and writing.

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