Award Recipients


Chris Hassel (2022)

Award-winning Essay

Christopher Hassel grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and received his B.A. in Asian and Middle Eastern Studies from Duke University in December 2021. During his undergraduate studies, he spent six months doing intensive Arabic study in Amman before returning to Duke to develop electronic resources for Duke’s third and fourth year Arabic courses. He studied briefly in the Department of Anthropology at Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan, before beginning a Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) fellowship in Amman, Jordan for the 2022-2023 academic year.


Jermaine Butler (2021)

Indiana University

Award-Winning Essay

Paula Rötscher_Photo
Paula's young students learning to write in Arabic.
Paula's young students learning to write in Arabic.

Paula Roetscher (2018-19)

Award-winning Essay

Paula Roetscher started learning Arabic in 6th grade at Salzmannschule Schnepfenthal in Germany. She then pursued a minor in Arabic Language and Literature alongside majors in Geography and Sustainability Studies at the University of Florida. After graduating in 2016, she received the Kathryn Davis Fellowship for Peace to attend the Arabic Language School at Middlebury College in the summer of 2017. In 2018, Paula was selected as a CASA (Center for Arabic Study Abroad) Fellow and studied Modern Standard Arabic and Jordanian dialect at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, Jordan for 9 months. She also used this time to apply her Arabic by working with refugees from Syria and Iraq in Amman and by volunteering at a community center on the Greek island of Lesvos during her winter break. After her studies in Jordan, Paula returned to Germany to pursue a master's degree in Arabic Studies at the University of Bamberg. She graduated from the program with highest honors, receiving a perfect score on her master's thesis titled "Digital Media Literacy in the Arabic Classroom". As of August 2020, Paula works as an Arabic teacher at her old school, teaching Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine dialects to students in 6th-12th grade. She is also a lecturer in Arabic at the University of Erfurt and regularly leads seminars and workshops for Arabic teachers in Germany.

Keegan_Terek - Photo

Keegan Terek (2016-2017)

Keegan Terek is a PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Northwestern University. His dissertation research examines contemporary Arabic language discourse around non-normative gender and sexuality, building on ethnographic fieldwork with refugees, activists, and humanitarian professionals in Amman, Jordan. He received his MA in Anthropology from Northwestern University in 2018 and his BA in Arabic and Spanish and Portuguese Studies from Georgetown University in 2015. In addition to his language training in the United States, he has studied Arabic through scholarship programs in Egypt, Morocco, Oman, and Jordan, including a twelve-month Center for Arabic Study Abroad Fellowship in Amman from 2015 to 2016.


Mike Turner (2014-2015)

Award-winning Essay.

Mike grew up in a small town in North Carolina and completed his undergraduate study at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he majored in International Studies and first began his study of Arabic. After graduating, he worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in a youth center in southern Morocco, where he fell in love with the culture and language. He decided to pursue graduate training in linguistics and the teaching of Arabic as a foreign language, ultimately earning a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin. Mike is currently Assistant Professor of Arabic at the University of North Carolina Wilmington.