Then: Junior Fellow, Middle East Program (2012–2013)
Now: Postdoctoral Fellow, Immigration Policy Lab, Stanford University

As a political scientist studying mass and elite political behavior in the Arab world, I am grateful for my time as a junior fellow in Carnegie’s Middle East Program. My experience at Carnegie both inspired me to pursue a PhD and has played a key role in shaping my research agenda and career goals.

At Carnegie, my supervisor and mentor, Fred Wehrey, sparked my interest in using social media data to study Arab politics. Working with Fred, I conducted a variety of qualitative research on Twitter and Facebook, from mapping Libyan militia groups’ online presence to exploring Saudi clerics’ sectarian discourse. After Carnegie, as a PhD student at NYU, I began several projects using social media data to study political behavior in the MENA region—from the spread of sectarian hate speech in the Saudi Twittersphere to Islamist-secular polarization in Egyptian Twitter networks. Combining the qualitative insights I gained at Carnegie with the big data, network analysis, and text analysis skills I developed at NYU, this research evolved into my dissertation on digital media and conflict after the Arab Spring, which I am now turning into a book.

While pursuing my PhD, I continued to stay involved with the Carnegie Middle East Program. In addition to keeping in touch with my Middle East Program family including Fred, Marwan Muasher, Katherine Wilkins, Intissar Fakir, and Tiffany Tupper, I wrote a Carnegie paper that became part of an edited volume and presented my work at Carnegie workshops. Having these opportunities to receive feedback on my academic research from policy experts has been extremely valuable.

My time at Carnegie inspired me to pursue a career at the intersection of academia and policy, and with this goal in mind I recently began a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford’s Immigration Policy Lab—a research team conducting rigorous, actionable research on migration and refugee issues in the United States, Europe, and the MENA region. After my postdoc, I hope to begin the next phase of my academic career as a professor, continuing to use novel data sources to pursue policy-relevant research on political behavior in the Arab world.

By exposing me to policy research, expanding my professional and personal network, and planting the seeds for my current research agenda, the Junior Fellows Program was an invaluable experience and a foundational step in my career.