Alumni & Careers
Capstone 2021 Students
Brantley Damon (’22)
Brantley is an Arabic and Elementary Education double major and TESOL minor. She was the most Outstanding 400-level Arabic student her senior year and spent a summer as a TA for our intensive pre-freshman Arabic program. She is also a 2021 recipient of the Boren Scholarship, which funds up to $25,000 for students to study critical languages around the world. The Capstone will be Mrs. Damon’s second time living and studying in Meknes, Morocco, after spending a summer there in 2018.
Miller Greene (’22)
Miller is an Arabic and International Studies double major. He has previously studied abroad at MALIC in Amman, Jordan and AALIM in Meknes, Morocco, and served as a Modern Languages Ambassador as an undergraduate student. Mr. Greene is also a 2021 Boren Scholarship recipient and plans on pursuing a career with the federal government after completing the Capstone in Meknes.
Isabel Spafford (’22)
Isabel is also an Arabic and International Studies double major and 2021 Boren Scholar. This will be Ms. Spafford’s second stint in Meknes, after being the first student to complete a Flagship Summer program with UM in 2019. Isabel has also studied in Oman with a Critical Language Scholarshp and spent time studying Swahili in Tanzania with an SIT scholarship.
Charlotte Armistead (’21)
Charlotte is headed off to the Harvard Kennedy School to earn a Masters in Public Policy and is the recipient of the prestigious Charles B. Rangel Fellowship to start her career in Foreign Service. At UM, Ms. Armistead earned a B.A. in Arabic and International Studies with a minor in Intelligence & Security Studies. She spent a summer and semester abroad in Amman, Jordan and received a Critical Language Scholarship. Ms. Armistead was also accepted to Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and Georgetown University’s Master of Foreign Service program.
Cynthia Bauer (’19)
Cynthia is a 2019 graduate with a B.A. in Arabic and International Studies. Ms. Bauer studied and worked abroad several summers in Amman, Jordan, and the West Bank before completing the renowned CASA program at the American University of Cairo. Cynthia wrote her senior thesis on identity politics and the impact of non-governmental organizations in Cairo, which earned her the best Middle East and North Africa thesis in 2019. Ms. Bauer now works as a strategist for a tech and defense start-up in Memphis.
Lauren Burns (’20)
Lauren was one of three students to complete the first Capstone year for the UM Arabic program. Ms. Burns completed her B.A. in Arabic and International Studies in 2019, then the Capstone as a Boren Scholar in 2019-2020. She participated in various abroad programs in Amman, Jordan, and worked as a Monitoring & Evaluation Intern with Partners-Jordan. She received the 2019 Terasawa Prize for best senior thesis and was a 2019 Fulbright Semi-Finalist for a research proposal in Jordan. Currently, Lauren is the Project Coordinator for the Arabic Flagship Program at the University of Mississippi.
John Chappell (’19)
John graduated in 2019 with a B.A. in Arabic and International Studies as a Croft Scholar, a Barksdale Award recipient, a Taylor medalist, and a Rhodes finalist. Mr. Chappell spent significant time in Morocco and Jordan studying and conducting research, which led to his thesis on communal water politics in Morocco. While pursuing a J.D. and M.S. in Foreign Service at Georgetown University, John also worked with the Middle East Institute and Foreign Policy for America. He is currently a Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy Intern and a Sahel-focused Marcellus Fellow of the John Quincy Adams Society.
Wesley Gerard (’19)
Wesley earned a B.A. in Arabic and International Studies with a minor in Public Policy Leadership in 2019. He spent a summer at MALIC in Amman and a semester with SIT in Amman, where he conducted research that led to his thesis on political impacts of water scarcity in Azraq, Jordan. Mr. Gerard also earned 2nd place in publishing with the University of Mississippi Undergraduate Research Journal (UMURJ) in 2019. After graduating, Wesley earned an M.Sc. in Water Science, Policy, & Management at the University of Oxford and is now starting law school at Arizona State University.
Paul Hunt (’20)
Paul was one of three students to complete the first Capstone year for the UM Arabic program. Mr. Hunt earned his B.A. in Arabic and International Studies with a minor in Math in 2019 and then attended the Capstone in 2019-2020. During his time at UM, Paul spent many summers and one semester abroad at three different programs in Amman, Jordan, and earned a Critical Language Scholarship to study Urdu at the American Institute of Indian Studies in Uttar Pradesh, India. Paul also picked up playing the oud while in Amman. Mr. Hunt is now pursuing a M.S. in Statistical Science at Indiana University.
Zach Kurz (’20)
Zach earned a B.A. in Arabic and minors in Intelligence and Security Studies and Military Science in 2020. After studying abroad at MALIC in Amman, Jordan, Mr. Kurz was recognized as the Top Cadet ROTC 2016-2019, a Distinguished Military Graduate 2020, an Outstanding Student in Arabic 2016-2018, a Taylor Medalist 2020, and the recipient of a George C. Marshall Scholarship in 2020. Currently, Zach is a 2 LT in the Army as an Intel Officer. He will start Airborne School in July 2021, and then head to the 82nd Airborne Division.
Alex McLelland (’12)
Alex is a 2012 graduate with a B.A. in Public Policy Leadership and minors in Arabic and Music and spent two summers abroad at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan. Since graduation, he earned a M.A. in Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Texas in Austin in 2014, served as an ESL Program Coordinator and International Student Advisor at a local ESL school, and was the International Student Advisor at St. Edward’s University in Austin. As a current Property Manager in Austin, Mr. McLelland plans on pursuing a career in the Foreign Service to further his studies and utilization of Arabic.
Lauren Newman (’20)
Lauren was one of three students to complete the first Capstone year in UM Arabic program. Ms. Newman completed her B.A. in Arabic and International Studies in 2019 and then the Capstone as a Boren Scholar in 2019-2020. Lauren studied in Amman, Jordan, for two summers and a semester. She then served as a Democracy Program Intern with the Carter Center, where she observed elections in Zimbabwe. Ms. Newman worked with the political software developer Quorum Analytics and is now the Policy & Government Relations Coordinator at the National Association of Manufacturers.
Sailer Perkins (’17)
2017 graduate Sailer Perkins earned a B.A. in Political Science and Arabic. Ms. Perkins spent significant time studying and interning abroad in Amman, Jordan, during and after her studies at UM. Sailer previously worked as an MSA and Levantine Arabic translator for Syria Direct and an intern with Experience Jordan before heading to the Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M. After finishing her M.A., Ms. Perkins served as an Analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency and is currently a Civil Affairs Specialist for the US Army Reserve.
Caleb Ray (’21)
Caleb recently finished the 2020-2021 Capstone as a Boren Scholar. Right before Capstone, Mr. Ray finished his B.A. in Arabic and International Studies with a minor in Business in 2020. He spent time studying abroad in Amman, Jordan, and Meknes, Morocco, and was a Critical Language Alternate in 2019. Mr. Ray plans on attending the Marine Corps Officer Candidates School and would like to eventually work in the intelligence community or government contracting.
Alex Richmond (’17)
Alex is a 2017 graduate with a B.A. in International Studies and Math with minors in Arabic and Economics. Alex spent time studying abroad at AALIM in Meknes, Morocco, and won the Terasawa Prize 2017 for best overall senior research thesis at the Croft Institute for International Studies. Since then, Mrs. Richmond has worked as a research assistant for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and is now a PhD candidate for Economics at MIT.
Sydney Rusovich (’18)
Sydney is a 2018 graduate with a B.A. in Arabic and International Studies. In addition to summers and semesters abroad at MALIC in Amman, Jordan, Mrs. Rusovich spent a summer at the Mount Carmel Arabic Immersion Program in a Druze village near Haifa. She is the 2018 recipient of the Terasawa and Bancroft Awards for best overall research thesis and outstanding community service. Sydney served as UM’s first Arabic Flagship Project Coordinator after the grant program’s establishment in 2018. Mrs. Rusovich will be starting law school at Loyola University in New Orleans this fall.
Qua Sayles (’14)
2014 graduate Qua Sayles earned a B.A. in International Studies and a minor in Arabic. During her time in the UM Arabic program, she earned a Critical Language Scholarship and a Gilman Scholarship to study and conduct research in Jordan and Palestine. After graduating, Ms. Sayles earned an M.A. in Forced Migration and Immigration Studies at DePaul University in Chicago and worked with refugee resettlement organizations in the area. Currently, Qua is working with Partnership and Grant Management at Loyola University of Chicago and working as a freelance Arabic Instructor.
Henry Stonnington (’19)
Henry finished his B.A. in Arabic and International Studies with a minor in Chemistry in 2019. Henry spent many summers and semesters studying at MALIC and the University of Jordan in Amman. He also completed the Mt. Carmel Arabic Immersion Program in the summer of 2018. Since then, Mr. Stonnington has pursued an M.D. at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine and plans to finish his studies in 2024. After med school, Henry plans to continue his medical training in the field.
Orion Wilcox (’14)
Orion graduated in 2014 with a B.A. in Economics and a minor in Arabic. Mr. Wilcox participated in several abroad programs and received the Critical Language Scholarship, the Gilman Scholarship, and admittance to the prestigious CASA program in Amman, Jordan. Mr. Wilcox spent significant time in Jordan, Palestine, and Sudan working on USAID projects and served as a Program Officer for IREX. Now, Orion is the Research Manager at DT Global and has just received the Foreign Language & Area Studies Award to pursue an M.A. in Middle East Studies at George Washington University in DC.
Jeannie Williams (’21)
Jeannie is a recent 2021 graduate with a B.A. in Arabic and International Studies and a minor in Aerospace studies. Ms. Williams studied abroad in Meknes, Morocco; Ibri, Oman; and Muscat, Oman, during her time at the University of Mississippi with a Project GO scholarship. Jeannie is currently in the Language Enabled Airmen Program, which helps Airmen maintain and further develop language skills and graduate to the Foreign Area Officer career field. Ms. Williams will commission into the U.S. Air Force this October, and hopes to pursue a master’s degree in International Studies.
Scholarships & Fellowships
Our current students and alumni are awarded prestigious, nationally-recognized scholarships and fellowships every year as they finish their undergraduate study and begin their careers or higher education. Some include:
Many of our alumni further their education with Master’s degrees in Middle Eastern Studies, Arab Studies, Foreign Service, and Political Science; Law school; M.D. programs; and PhD programs. Here are just a few universities our alumni attend:
- American University in Cairo
- American University of Paris
- Bush School of Government & Public Service
- Columbia University
- Georgetown University
- George Washington University
- Harvard Kennedy
- Howard University
- Loyola University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- Pennsylvania State University
- University of Oxford
Careers & Internships
A degree in Arabic and the Superior proficiency obtained at our program means that students have a wide array of career choices across the globe. Common paths include Arabic Linguists, Arabic Instructors, TESOL Instructors, Military Officers, Data Analysts, Attorneys & Law Clerks, Research Assistants, and Program Coordinators. Some recent graduates and current students work and intern at:
- Carolina Refugee Resettlement Agency
- Carter Center
- Center for Strategic & International Studies
- Children’s National Medical Center
- Croft Institute for International Studies
- Defense Intelligence Agency
- Department of Defense
- Department of Justice
- Department of State
- Federal Reserve
- Middle East Institute
- Peace Corps
- Quorum Analytics
- Syria Direct
- Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy
- U.S. Military