Monday, April 25, 2016

BU Student Presents at CERIS Undergraduate Research Symposium

My name is Elizabeth Miller. I transferred to Bloomsburg from St. John’s University in Queens in the spring of 2014. I am from a small town called Port Jervis, NY. I am currently a Junior and a dual major in Arabic and History with a minor in Middle East Studies.  I am apart of the work-study program and I work at the History Department in Old Science Hall. I am also the secretary of History Club and I am involved in Model Arab League; I am also helping to start a functioning Arabic Club. After finishing my undergraduate studies I intend to further my education at graduate school to pursue an intensive Middle East Studies and Arabic program.

The weekend of April 9th 2016 I went to Duquesne University to present my research on Osama bin Laden’s radicalization based on the U.S. policies, involving Saudi Arabia up to September 11th 2001. I wrote this paper for a Research and Writing Skills course here at Bloomsburg University under Dr. Karsner in the department of History. The presentation allowed me to show other students and faculty the work I put into this topic, which has affected society's perception of the Middle East today. Additionally, the symposium gave me the opportunity to practice my public speaking skills, and for me this is unnerving. Although that is the case, it is important to step outside of your comfort zone and show others the hard work one puts into research. 

Elizabeth Miller with Dr. Safa Saraçoğlu
I also had the honor to meet others who share similar interests regarding Islamic and Middle East studies. One of the fellow students in my presentation room was from Kenya and was there during the 1998 Africa Embassy bombings. Additionally one of the professors who was not able to see my presentation specifically asked me to send him a copy of my paper because he was interested in my research. This symposium presented me the opportunity to make connections outside of Bloomsburg University, which may help in my future career.

This summer I will be furthering my research on this subject with Dr. Saraçoğlu. He gave the keynote address at the conference on the Syrian Refugee crisis and is a professor here at Bloomsburg University. I received feedback and suggestions from other professors at the conference that will help me in my research. I am a dual major in Arabic and History and have a minor in Middle East Studies. This summer, thanks to the encouragement of Dr. Laayouni, the Arabic professor, I will be studying Arabic in Morocco for four weeks and when I come back I will further my research here at Bloomsburg University with the support of an URSCA grant.

The professors at Bloomsburg University have encouraged me to present my research and further my studies in this field. I am grateful for the experiences and support I have here, especially in the History and Languages and Cultures departments. I would encourage other students to make faculty connections and participate in conferences and presentations. It is important to be proud of your work and make the best of your undergraduate years in order to better yourself as a student to have a successful future.

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