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.


Ashley came to study Arabic through her passion for history. She currently works as a tour guide in museums and historic sites like Ford's Theatre and President Lincoln's cottage. She hopes to eventually use her Arabic skills to write, research, or work in education. In her spare time, Ashley enjoys traveling, watching films, reading, and writing. She is also the recipient of the Maryland Transfer Scholarship.


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.  




Daniella started learning Arabic at the Summer Institute in Summer 2015. After an
intensive summer, she decided to transfer from Pace University, NYC to UMD because of
the unique opportunities that the Flagship program offers. She aspires to obtain a double
degree in Criminology and Criminal Justice and Arabic, with minors in Spanish and Global
Terrorism and a Latin American Studies Certificate. Daniella is the recipient of the
President’s Transfer Scholarship and is a National and Homeland Security Federal Fellow.
After completing her Capstone year in Morocco, she hopes to work in the government in
terrorism and counterterrorism, anti-human and drug trafficking and/or with Latin
American and Middle Eastern refugees.


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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. 


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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.


Olivia loves to learn new languages and learn about different cultures around the world. She chose to learn Arabic because she knew nothing about the language or the culture. After taking her first Arabic class she knew she wanted to continue learning Arabic. Her future career goals are to teach Arabic in high schools and community colleges. She wants to be able to offer students the same opportunities to learn a new language, and to learn about another culture that some may not have ever heard of. Olivia is the recipient of the President’s Transfer Scholarship and her academic interests include Second Language Acquisition, and she will pursue a Master’s degree in that field.


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Olivia is a Banneker-Key scholar interested in international relations and policy, including immigration issues, sustainable development, and global education policy. Before her freshman year, she traveled to Morocco for six weeks and fell in love with the language and culture. She hopes to use her Arabic skills in a nonprofit career, assisting refugees and immigrants from the Arab world. When she’s not studying Arabic, she loves to sing and dance with UMD’s world language acapella group, Ethnobeat.  

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