***Please fill out this form to help create an up to date database of all former Specializers and Minors of the Jewish Studies Program at MSU from 1992 to today.
Molly Appel '23 (Accounting, Broad College of Business)
Pursuing a Jewish Studies minor has allowed me to experience a variety of opportunities. I have been able to study Hebrew at a more in-depth level,the history of Jews in American Israel as a Start-Up Nation, and Israeli documentaries with Yael Katzir. Additionally, my Jewish Studies minor has allowed me to meet other Jewish students on campus who are active in the Jewish community and interested in growing our connection with it. I am grateful for the opportunity to meet faculty and students in the Jewish Studies program and further develop my Jewish identity. After graduation, I will be pursuing a Master’s of Science in Accounting at Michigan State University through May 2024. I will be starting full-time with Deloitte in Chicago as an Audit Associate in the Summer/Fall of 2024.
Molly was awarded the Finifter Hebrew Scholarship in 2021.
Ellie Baden '23 (Social Relations and Policy, JMC; Interdisciplinary Studies, CAL; Honors College)
Being a Jewish Studies minor has been a great experience. Through the Serling Institute, I have been able to study abroad in Israel, improve my Hebrew speaking skills, present research publicly, and gain professional skills as an intern. I was proud to contribute to the Serling Institute Guide on Antisemitism, and am glad to see our work being shared across campus. I was also honored to represent the students of the Jewish Studies minor at the 30th Anniversary Celebration earlier this semester. I am so grateful for all of the support and opportunities that the Serling Institute and Jewish Studies faculty have given me during my time at MSU.
Ellie is the recipient of of the Finifter Hebrew Award in 2021, Albert and Sharie Gladner Study in Israel Endowed Scholarship Fund in 2021, Ed Levy, Jr. and Linda Dresner Levy Endowed Fund Scholarship for study in Israel in 2021, Ed Levy, Jr. and Linda Dresner Levy Endowed Fund Hebrew Scholarship in 2021, MSU Student Life Emerging Leader Award in 2021, Homecoming Court in 2022, and in 2021 Ellie was the MSU nominee for the Truman, Rhodes, and Mitchell scholarships and was awarded the Udall Scholarship.
Julia Diskin '23 (Psychology, College of Social Science)
Growing up I attended Jewish day schools. From the first grade until 12th grade I learned Hebrew and studied Judaism-related courses such as history of the Holocaust, Bible, and Rabbinics. I was scared to lose my Jewish identity once I entered college but thanks to the Serling Institute, I never had to give that part of myself up. As a minor in Jewish Studies I have continued to learn Hebrew and have taken vital courses such as “Jews and Antisemitism” to keep myself connected and well informed. Not only has my education been enriched because of the Jewish Studies program, but I have also made close connections with faculty and other minors which created a community where I knew I’d be understood. Furthermore, I work as an intern for the Serling Institute where I have acquired where I have acquired new skills and have met many very important people. I had the honor of attending the 30th Anniversary of the Jewish Studies Program at MSU, and know that no matter where I am in life, I will always have a strong support system. After graduating this spring 2023 I will be attending graduate school to get my masters in social work.
Julia was awarded the Finifter Hebrew Scholarship in 2021 and the James & Anna Hersh Scholarship for Student Internships in Israel in 2022.
Maegan Jankowski '23 (Arts and Humanities, CAL)
I really enjoyed my experience of being a Jewish studies minor! My favorite class taken for my minor was an independent study with Dr. Fermaglich in Fall of 2021. I was able to learn about topics that are interesting to me, and to create a curriculum with Dr. Fermaglich to help guide my learning experience and to create a research paper. I learned about how sex trafficking and prostitution affected Jewish communities in the early twentieth century and was able to study trafficking patterns from Eastern Europe to the America. I combined my research with my love for theatre and wrote my paper about the Yiddish play God of Vengeance and compared the themes of prostitution seen within this play to the real-life experiences of Jewish women who were prostitutes or had been sex trafficked. I was given the opportunity to present my research project at the 6th Annual Serling Instititue Undergraduate Research Conference in 2022 and I had a great experience attending and participating in the conference.
I plan to attend graduate school next year to pursue a degree in anthropology, focusing my research on bioarcheology, which is the study of past human remains. I am currently in the application process for graduate school and am looking forward to furthering my education to achieve my dream of becoming a bioarchaeologist and professor in the future.
Chloe Shemano-Krupp '23 (The School of Hospitality Business, Honors College)
I have enjoyed all the classes I have taken through the Serling Institute as part of my Jewish Studies minor, but a significant highlight was that this year, I was able to take a class on Israeli politics, society, and culture. My Professor, Yuval Benziman, visited Michigan State directly from Hebrew University in Jerusalem. Learning from him was an amazing opportunity due to his personal experiences with Israel. I also enjoyed being a part of the initial student advisors alongside my peers and professors for the Guide on Antisemitism for the MSU Community that was published this year. My future after graduation is unclear, but I hope to start a career that is somehow involved with the Jewish community.
Pelli Mechnikov '23 (Neuroscience, College of Natural Science ; Honors College)
I have absolutely loved being a Jewish Studies minor at MSU! With the Jewish Studies scholarships, including the Hersh Scholarship, I was able to experience a life changing internship in Israel. I have also absolutely loved getting to do independent research in Hebrew and form close relationships with professors. Through taking religion classes for my minor, I have discovered my deep interest in religious studies as well. I was grateful to get to attend the 30th anniversary celebration for the Serling Institute of Jewish Studies -- it was a wonderful to celebrate and finish up my last year in the program. I love the faculty in the Jewish Studies program and will be sad to leave. However, I am looking forward to applying to medical school and to (hopefully) working as a medical assistant during my gap year. I am planning to make it to Israel once more before medical school in the beginning of 2024!
Pelli was awarded the Finifter Hebrew Scholarship in 2021 and the James & Anna Hersh Scholarship for Student Internships in Israel in 2021.
Matt Sturt '23 (Public Policy, CSS)
I have had a fantastic time being a Jewish studies minor. I have added onto my Judaic knowledge and knowledge about modern Israel. The professors in the Serling Institute have been fantastic at provoking interesting thought and conversation. I am happy to have been a Jewish Studies Minor and and am looking forward to watching the program grow in the future.
Chloe Weigel '23 (Social Relations and Policy, JMC; History, CSS; and Honors College)
Chloe has a passion for academics, and has greatly enjoyed her time as a student at MSU. She began her collegiate career in 2019, and has had the opportunity to take a course in James Madison College, MC 202, that focused on Holocaust Diaries and Oral histories. After greatly enjoying the course, she began taking other Jewish Studies courses, ultimately becoming a minor in 2022. She has greatly enjoyed the program, and her favorite course for her minor is Dr. Simon’s MC 498, which is a senior seminar that focuses on the Holocaust in American memory. She has deeply appreciated the studies this minor has offered. The skills and content she learned will be greatly beneficial in her future. After graduation, she hopes to continue her studies in graduate school, pursuing a Master of Arts in Higher Education and Student Affairs.
Daniel Zivian '23 (Broadcast Journalism, College of Communication Arts and Sciences)
Thanks to the Jewish Studies program, I went up to Israel for the first time. Being a JS minor allowed me to live out that lifelong dream in as fulfilling a way as possible, with the professors getting my peers and I up close and personal with Israeli history and society.
As of this writing, I have no concrete plan for after graduation. As a broadcast journalism major, I would love to work at a smaller-market station somewhere in the country.
Daniel was awarded the Ed Levy, Jr. and Linda Dresner Levy Endowed Fund Scholarship for study in Israel in 2022.
Sydnie Burnstein (Social Relations & Policy )
"My name is Sydnie Burnstein (she/her), and I am the Jewish Studies Student Representative for this academic year. I am currently a Junior majoring in Social Relations and Policy and pursuing a few sustainability-related minors in addition to Jewish Studies. The Serling Institute programs that I have participated in have influenced my college experience in the most positive ways. In the summer of 2021, I studied abroad in Israel with Professor Kedem. On this trip, I met some of my closest college friends and had the opportunity to form a substantive connection with Israel and the Hebrew language. Taking additional courses and attending events offered by the Serling Institute has inspired me to better understand complex stories, engage in dialogue, and enjoy the simple pleasures that learning can provide. I look forward to seeing all of you in Jewish Studies courses and at events in the coming semesters."
Talia Gruber '22 (Psychology)
Growing up attending Jewish Day School, I have always had a passion for the many different facets that Judaism contains. Being able to further study the rich culture and history that Judaism holds at the university level has been incredibly fulfilling for me. With three out of four of my grandparents being survivors of the Holocaust, I was raised with deep discussion and learning about this significant piece of our history. I am fortunate enough to be working on my own research with the guidance of Professor Kirsten Fermaglich in an independent study this year. My paper discusses the experience of Holocaust survivors in post-WWII North America and how these immigrants were received by those in Canada and the United States. The Jewish Studies courses that I was able to take at MSU provided me with several valuable skills. Most importantly though, they reminded me how important a Jewish education and its presence in my life is to me. After graduating, I am hoping to take a gap year working preferably at a Jewish Family and Children’s Services location or pursuing opportunities in Israel. Following the gap year I hope to earn my PhD in Clinical Psychology. I am sad to leave my home here at MSU, but I know I am taking away incredible memories, lessons, relationships, and knowledge. Thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me along the way!
Avi Cohen '22 (Social Relations and Policy)
My exploration of the Jewish Studies minor has provided me with the opportunity to nurture my familial relationships. Whether it is reviewing my papers with my father or calling my grandfather to inquire about my great uncle’s Holocaust experiences, the academic requirements of the minor have oftentimes pushed me to explore my family's history and experiences as Jews. Through the studies of my cultural history, I have not only developed my interpersonal relationships but have strengthened my Jewish identity as an individual. With more knowledge comes a greater understanding of what elements of Judaism resonate with me. I am grateful for the opportunity to pursue the Jewish Studies minor and look forward to what is to come. I will apply to law schools in September.
Aldo Buttazzoni ‘22 (International Relations)
The Jewish Studies minor was a highlight of my academic career at Michigan State and I would strongly recommend it to other students.
Learning Hebrew was one of my favorite parts of the minor. Learning Hebrew stimulated me mentally and I learned to love studying the language. The dedication of the professors in the Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel, especially Yore Kedem, made it easy to want to engage actively in the courses.
Traveling to Israel was another unique learning experience I received through the minor. Studying abroad in the Holy Land was something I will never forget and I am a better person for taking part in the trip. The skills and experiences I took away from this trip will stay with me for life and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have participated.
After graduating in the Spring I’ll be moving to Fort Worth, Texas where I will be working in political media. I will apply to law schools for the 2024 academic year. I’m excited to move back to Texas, where I lived in the spring and summer of 2021, to continue pursuing my passion for politics and law.
I would also like to sincerely thank Michael and Elaine Serling for supporting the JS Program through the Serling Institute at the University. Throughout my progress in the JS minor, the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute offered me scholarships and unique learning opportunities that I never otherwise would have had. It is because of their passion for the program that I, and many other students, get to partake in life changing experiences and push themselves in the pursuit of knowledge. Thank you.
Samantha Chaben ‘21 (International Relations)
The Jewish Studies minor at MSU has provided me with the opportunity to reconnect to my Jewish identity and further expand my knowledge of Judaism, no only on a personal level, but on a cultural and political level as well. The Jewish Studies minor has given me a sense of community and has made a big campus feel much smaller and more meaningful. Additionally, I have concluded my time at MSU with a capstone to both my major and minor by taking a Senior Seminar (MC492) on the Dilemmas of Asymmetric Wars. I wrote an extensive research paper, under the guidance of Professor Aronoff, comparing the political and military effectiveness of actors in two Israeli-Hamas wars, evaluating the relationship between the actors and considering policy recommendations for the future. I intend to present my research paper at both the JMC Undergraduate Research Conference and the Serling Institute Undergraduate Research Conference. Upon graduation with an International Relations degree from James Madison College, I plan to move to D.C. and work for a legislative lobbyist firm.
Bailey Butash '21 (Social Relations & Policy)
"Having a minor in Jewish Studies has been an unexpected gift in my college experience. My favorite part of the program so far has been my participation in the study abroad to Israel. I loved exploring the old city of Jerusalem (pictured here) and visiting various exciting and historic cities such as Nazareth and Tel Aviv. I also loved being immersed in the culture and Hebrew language. The professors who taught our classes were both wonderful teachers and helped me learn an incredible amount about Israel’s history and culture in such a short amount of time.”
Troy Distelrath '21 (Social Relations and Policy)
"Taking MC 387: Jews and Antisemitism with Dr. Amy Simon has certainly been a highlight of my Jewish Studies experience. It provided me with the tools necessary to both understand and combat antisemitism from across the political spectrum. Bigotry comes from a place of ignorance (willful or otherwise), and seeing the deep history of antisemitic tropes and stereotypes going back to Biblical times was incredibly compelling and informative for someone like myself who is not a practitioner of the faith.
I currently plan on pursuing a Master’s in Public Policy before entering the think tank space to help write, research, and otherwise shape climate justice policies at the federal level."
Yael Eichhorn '21 (Religious Studies)
"I am really enjoying minoring in Jewish Studies. At MSU there are Jewish Studies classes available on a wide variety of topics so I have been able to learn about so many different aspects of Jewish life, culture and history. It has worked really well with my major and creates a space for me to focus on the areas of religion that interest me. I have been given the opportunity to work at the Institute and it has been a great experience, and has taught me a lot about Jewish academia. This past summer I had an internship with the Detroit Jewish News and was able to write an article entitled: “Reflection: Finding My Jewish Identity at MSU” about the program and my experiences. Jewish Studies also puts an emphasis on involving students, and I have appreciated getting to know the professors and faculty. I am confident that the knowledge I have gained in my Jewish Studies minor will be helpful to me in my future career."
Grace Hunt '22 (Social Work)
"Having a minor in Jewish Studies has been an unexpected gift in my college experience. My favorite part of the program so far has been my participation in the study abroad to Israel. I loved exploring the old city of Jerusalem (pictured here) and visiting various exciting and historic cities such as Nazareth and Tel Aviv. I also loved being immersed in the culture and Hebrew language. The professors who taught our classes were both wonderful teachers and helped me learn an incredible amount about Israel’s history and culture in such a short amount of time.”
Benjamin Francis '21 (Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy , Religious Studies)
"I will be graduating from MSU with a major in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College and a major in Religious Studies, and with a minor in Jewish Studies. I took two years of Hebrew, two faculty- led study abroad programs in Israel, an additional Hebrew
ulpan in Israel, and courses by
Serling Visiting Israeli Scholar Harry Yuklea on Israel as a startup nation. Another highlight of my minor was when I did an internship in Israel with Bar Ilan University’s Faculty of Law Clinic and conducted comparative legal research on the rights of parents with disabilities through the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. Serling Institute Hersh, Levy, and Slade scholarships supported these study abroad and internship opportunities. I also presented my field research conducted in Israel at the Serling Undergraduate Research Conference and was awarded the Serling Institute Student Achievement Award. My future plans are to make aliya to Israel and I’m interested in Jewish non-profit work or finance before pursuing graduate school."
Jared Kaczor '21 ( Linguistics)
"Highlights from my minor would be studying abroad with Yore Kedem. I found being in Israel to be transformative and would not trade the experiences and education I received there for anything. In particular, I have quite fond memories of my friends and I going through Machane Yehuda market on our way to the old city, drinking iced coffee, and enjoying the sun.
I plan on continuing my education here at MSU, and in a year I will have my MA in Linguistics."
Sidrah Kovan ’21 (Arts & Humanities)
"The highlight of being a Jewish Studies minor for me has been being able to connect with students from an array of backgrounds. Initially going into Jewish studies, I expected to just meet more Jewish students like myself but have been pleasantly surprised in meeting people that come from many different places and have fresh views they bring to the table. Additionally, each Jewish Studies class that I have taken has taught me not only more about Judaism, but more about myself. The ability to learn about Jewish topics at Michigan State has given me a basis for my beliefs and understanding of Judaism that I would not have had without this program. It has helped me grow as a student and person."
Jules Levy '21 (Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism)
"My name is Jules Levy and I am a junior here at MSU. My major is Sustainable Parks, Recreation and Tourism, and I am minoring in Jewish Studies. I have taken Hebrew since I started at MSU and recently went on a Birthright trip to Israel as well as Onward, an Israel summer program where each student receives an internship as well as housing and day trips in a city of their choosing. I am also currently the V.P. of Community Programming for the Jewish Student Union of MSU. All these experiences and opportunities have led me to pursue a Jewish Studies minor. I hope to take this degree with me in my future career and overall knowledge of Judaism as well as other cultures/religions. I hope to intern for a Jewish organization this summer and use my knowledge/experiences through this minor to help me get to where I wish to be."
Maverick Levy '21 (Social Relations & Policy
"I love being involved in the Jewish Studies program at MSU because of the relationships that have flourished. I now have professors on campus that I can go to if I need to talk, need an opinion, or want to share a concern. In such a big university environment, it is comforting to know they are there for me. That is just one of the many reasons that the Jewish Studies program is so amazing!
I plan to attend law school. Also, I have a podcast that has been gaining tons of attention. It is called “The Best of The Best: Maverick’s Guide to Success” where the topics are a range of things covering life essential skills that are not taught within school."
Jake Austin Nessel '21 (Political Theory & Constitutional Democracy)
"There were a lot of highlights in my minor. I really enjoyed Dr. Simon’s class (I ended up having Dr. Simon again for my field experience) because we learned about different historical perspectives in Jewish studies. I also enjoyed Dr. Kedem’s Hebrew classes. We learned to speak the language in a way that was very engaging, which helped me apply the language to my daily activities.
After MSU, I am planning on going to law school to work in either music law or civil rights law."
Jake Rubin '21 (Arts & Humanities)
"The summer of 2019, I had many unique experiences while studying abroad in Israel with Professor Yore Kedem. The trips we went on every week, the food we ate, and the adventures the group shared together proved to be a trip I will remember for a lifetime. Without the Levy scholarship offered through the minor, the trip would not have been possible, and I’m still extremely grateful for the opportunity.
My future plan is to go to grad school to earn my masters in social work."
Jordyn Weinberg '21 (Humanities - Pre-Law)
"Professor Kedem was an absolute joy to learn Hebrew from, and still to this day is one of my favorite teachers from MSU. Highlights of the minor are that I was able to take such a multitude of classes, as well as attend Jewish Studies events for extra credit. In addition, I learned a foreign language very near and dear to me as I am Jewish. In HEB290 I was able to then use that previously learned information and language, and work on a research paper, written fully in Hebrew (something I am quite proud of). Studying abroad was perhaps the most amazing experience of my college career. Being immersed in the culture, truly living and learning in Israel for a full month was an absolute dream. Interacting with the people, meeting fellow students and living in a country I have learned about my whole life was a once in a lifetime experience. On top of that, I was able to use the credits from the classes I took to count for my minor, which was the icing on the cake! The Jewish Studies program facilitated a large number of events for students to attend, from having speakers to (my personal favorite) the film festival. I think the classes I took for my Jewish Studies minor made me a more well-rounded student and person as a whole.
In the far future I plan on attending law school, and would like to become a prosecutor. In the near future, I have considered working for a Jewish non-profit before I go to law school. I did not originally plan on pursuing a Jewish Studies minor, but as I took more and more classes, I realized it would be a wonderful and quite special minor to add to my college accomplishments."
Leah Welch ‘22, History
Leah Welch was awarded the Serling Institute Student Achievement Award in 2022. As Leah puts it, “The Serling Institute became a major part of my time at MSU. I became a Jewish Studies minor after taking a course on American Jewish History during my first year and have taken courses with most of the faculty. Everyone has been so welcoming and lovely. It’s a small program and they made me feel like there was a corner of the larger campus that I could feel part of. I was able to attend several of the guest speaker events. I was also able to participate in one of their Freshman Honors Seminars and give two presentations at the end of the year Serling Institute Undergraduate Research Conference. I worked with Dr. Kirsten Fermaglich on my Honors Thesis covering reactions to American Holocaust Denial and it was the most rewarding academic experience I have had while at MSU. I have one semester left, but I am planning to pursue a dual Master’s program in both Library Science and History after I graduate.”
Troy Distelrath ‘22 (Social Relations & Policy)
"I’m truly honored to receive the Serling Institute’s outstanding student award; entering Michigan State University with little to no connection to Judaism or the Jewish people, I never expected my college career to lead me down such a rich and novel educational path. Although my 2020 study abroad to Israel was cancelled by COVID-19, I had a plethora of outstanding academic experiences in East Lansing thanks to Drs. Amy Simon and Alon Tal. This culminated in my research presentation at the 2022 Serling Institute Undergraduate Research Conference on “Contradictions Within Communism” and Marxian antisemitism. Beginning this Fall, I’ll be building on the lessons I’ve learned from historians like Drs. Simon, Pegler-Gordon, and others in James Madison College, to teach and develop history curricula at Birch Grove University Prep in Rochester Hills, MI. "
Jordan Robinson ‘21, International Studies
Jordan Robinson was a recipient of the College of Social Science Torch Award for promoting diversity and inclusion on campus.
Jordan Robinson is a senior in the Michigan State University College of Social Science, studying Interdisciplinary Studies, with minors in Jewish Studies, Leadership of Organizations, and Sociology. A committed student activist, Jordan is being honored during Holocaust Remembrance Month for his commitment to creating a more equitable and inclusive campus community by combating antisemitism whenever and wherever it appears.
Lexie Kay '20 (Psychology)
"My name is Lexie Kay and I am a graduating senior this Fall. I am majoring in Psychology and minoring in Leadership of Organizations and Jewish Studies. I studied abroad in Tel Aviv last semester at Tel Aviv University. I absolutely loved living in the heart of Tel Aviv while I was there. Tel Aviv is such a fun and unique city to Israel, so I quickly become comfortable once I got the hang of things! Some of my favorite things that I did while I was there were connecting further to my Jewish roots while studying along side some of the greatest professors and students I have ever met! I also enjoyed hanging out at the beach and meeting other students who shared similar interests with me from around the world, including New York, Nebraska, California, Germany, and Israel. After graduation, I am looking forward to returning back to Israel for a month stay to spend time with family and friends. Afterward I will be applying to University of Michigan’s Social Work program, with the track in Jewish Communal Leadership. I am so excited to see where my next steps take me!"
Alan Shulman '20 (JMC, International Relations)
"My name is Alan Shulman, and I am a junior majoring in International Relations with minors in Russian and Jewish Studies. I have taken several classes for my Jewish Studies minor, including MC 112 with Professor Amy Simon on Holocaust literature. It is critical to not forget what happened during World War II and how horrific tragedies can happen again if there is not a group of people willing to fight back. After I graduate in December 2020, I am planning on moving to Washington D.C. I wish to work on Capitol Hill or the White House on national security issues with a focus on either the Middle East, or Eastern Europe/Russia!"
Mateusz Leszczynski '19
"My focus going into the Political Science PhD Program at University Colorado Boulder is to study Comparative Politics with a focus on political extremism in Europe. The Jewish Studies minor played a quintessential role in both my decision to apply for this graduate program and the specific field I am going into. The support and guidance of the fantastic professors within the Jewish Studies minor made the graduate search and application process much calmer and more efficient. My concentration within the Jewish Studies minor was antisemitism and its history in Europe. The minor courses that I took were essential in the creation of my graduate focus as now I hope to expand upon them and learn more in depth why some European communities on a local level have either combatted xenophobia or have succumbed to it. I also want to research exactly how, in terms of tactics, have local communities resisted political extremism. Regarding my future, after receiving a PhD in Political Science I hope to continue my academic career by applying for professor positions in US Universities. I am, however, also open to research think tank positions within the private sector."
Pejiman Masrouri ‘19
Peji is an International Relations Major with Minors in Jewish Studies, Muslim Studies and Russian and Eurasian Studies. He says, “I have no Jewish heritage in the slightest but have found the Jewish Studies program at MSU to be an absolute pleasure. The faculty were most helpful and I was highly impressed by the organization of the program. I have learned and experienced some amazing things in Jewish Studies, including getting the lifetime opportunity to travel to Israel thanks in no small part to the generous scholarships oﬀered by the Jewish Studies program. Visiting Israel and learning about the security situation there gave me a deeper understanding of concepts of national security and foreign policy, in which I am actively searching for a career. After the Israel trip, I became wholeheartedly convinced of pursuing the Jewish Studies Minor and have studied fascinating subjects including the Politics, Culture, and Society of Israel, Holocaust History, and the Dilemmas of Asymmetric Conﬂicts. These courses have easily been my favorite as an undergrad and have lined up perfectly with my interests.”
Daniel Baum ’19
To complete the Jewish Studies minor, Daniel has taken History of the Holocaust, American Jewish History, and Jewish Mysticism at Michigan State University so far. This past summer he participated in the Jewish Studies Summer Program at Hebrew University. Finally, during his last semester at MSU this fall, Daniel will be doing an independent study under the supervision of Dr. Amy Simon investigating American Holocaust education. Part of what helped propel Daniel toward Jewish Studies has been his involvement with the Oﬃcial State of Michigan Holocaust Commemoration (and this past year helping to plan it with MSU Hillel). Daniel is considering attending law school after graduation.
Ariella Sternfeld ’19
Ariella is a senior majoring in Political Science with a double Minor in Religious Studies and Jewish Studies and Modern Israel. She is also a member of the Honors College. In her four years at Michigan State, Ariella has taken many courses oﬀered by the Serling Institute such as “Elementary Hebrew,” “History of the Holocaust” and “American Jewish History." Over the past summer, she had the opportunity to travel to Israel twice—once through MSU Hillel Birthright and a second time as a participant of the Serling Institute Summer Program at Hebrew University.
She is also a recipient of the Julie and Ed Levy Jr. Scholarship for her studies in Jerusalem.
Ariella plans to graduate in May 2019 and hopes to ﬁnd a job in the metro Detroit area.
Kaila Waineo ’19
Kaila Waineo graduated from James Madison College in 2019 with a B.A. in International Relations and a minor in Jewish Studies. While at MSU, Kaila studied in Israel three times, as well as in Cuba, Sri Lanka, and India. She was awarded the Ed Levy, Jr. and Linda Dresner Levy Endowed Fund Scholarship, the Ed and Dot Slade Israel Study Scholarship, the Michael and Aubrey Rubner Scholarship, the Foreign Languages and Area Studies Fellowship, the Shao Chang Lee Scholarship, and the Jewish Studies Student Achievement Award for her research and coursework related to the study of Hebrew and Jewish Studies. She also worked for the Serling Institute as a Student Assistant and for Professor Aronoff as a Research Assistant, as well as completed a Senior Honor’s thesis relating to combatting international sex trafficking in Israel. After graduating from MSU, Kaila moved to San Francisco where she works for Latham & Watkins LLP, the second-largest international law firm in the world. There, she assists attorneys across the US and 19 global offices with research, proofreading, editing, document formatting, and translation. She has assisted with multiple projects in Hebrew, as well as in Spanish and Arabic. Kaila says, “My experiences with the Serling Institute—from exploring Israel, to learning Hebrew, to doing research relating to international law, to working for the Institute and for Professor Aronoff—were not only a major highlight of my college experience, but also essential to my career now. I absolutely loved learning everything that I did, and I utilize it on a daily basis at Latham. I am very grateful for the experiences I had!”
David Warshay ’19
"My Jewish studies minor through the Serling Institute has prepared me for graduate study in political science in many ways. The Institute has provided me with many scholarship opportunities, academic experiences, and research conferences from which I was able to identify my desired career path and work toward achieving it. Through the Israel study abroad program, I was able to conduct field research and get a real feel for what type of work that involves. Through the various academic conferences presented by the program, I was able to listen to experts and professors speak about various topics of interest, I was also able to present my own research and get valuable presentation experience. Additionally, I participated in two research projects. The first one focused on the displacement of Jews from Middle Eastern countries. The second research project took the form of a senior honors thesis and was a comparative genocide study where I looked at the three major genocides of the 20th century. In my senior seminar class I was able to research Operation Protective Edge and create a body of work that I was eventually able to use as a writing sample for graduate school applications. I was also able to present this work at the Jewish Studies Research Showcase. I was also fortunate enough to be awarded the Jewish Studies Student Achievement award during my final year at MSU. All of these experiences contributed to my desire to enter academia and, starting in fall 2020, start a PhD graduate program in political science at the University of Colorado Boulder. My career goals are to becoming a professor and scholar and influencing the next generation of students."
Graham Wise ’19
Graham is a senior double majoring in Economics and Political Science with a Minor in Jewish Studies and Modern Israel. He went on the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel study abroad to Israel in the summer of 2017. He says his study abroad, was an “incredible experience. It was amazing being able to live in Jerusalem, while having the opportunity to learn from two incredible professors, Professor Aronoﬀ and Professor Mendelsson.” Graham currently serves as the President of Spartans for Israel, a bipartisan pro-Israel organization, and works as an assistant for the Michael and Elaine Serling Institute for Jewish Studies and Modern Israel. He is also currently in the midst of writing a research paper examining United States policy towards Israel. After graduation, he plans to pursue a career working on Capitol Hill as a foreign policy aide.
Mackenzie Cater ‘18
Mackenzie was awarded the 2018 Jewish Studies Student Achievement Award. She says that during her time at MSU, the Jewish Studies minor allowed her to explore many aspects of Jewish life and the State of Israel. She spent a semester learning about the roots of antisemitism as well as contemporary versions of antisemitism on both the right and left. After this experience, Mackenzie researched the major facets of US foreign policy towards Israel in relation to the Israeli/Palestinian conﬂict. Her minor also allowed her the opportunity to study abroad in Israel and investigate her interests in Bedouin women’s struggle towards higher education. In her senior seminar with Professor Aronoﬀ, Mackenzie devoted her research to exploring the role of Twitter in asymmetric warfare in relation to Operation Protective Edge. Today, she currently lives in DC and works for the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform. As an International Legislative Coordinator, Mackenzie focuses her research on legal reform that is important to EU Member States, Canada, Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Australia, Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Mexico—to name a few. Mackenzie says, “I continue to follow and engage in US/Israeli relations and hope to pursue further education in the study of conﬂict resolution.”
Anna Cumming ‘18
Anna was awarded the 2018 Jewish Studies Student Achievement Award and earned a double bachelor’s degree in History and Political Science Pre-law with minors in Anthropology, Women and Gender Studies, and Jewish Studies. She took several Jewish Studies courses, including a graduate course with Dr. Kirsten Fermaglich in addition to a Senior Honor’s thesis in Jewish Studies. In her graduate-level course, she completed a research project on antisemitism in the United States military. Her senior honors thesis examined the role of Jewish liberators of Nazi concentration camps, with a speciﬁc focus on Jewish masculinity. She looked at instances of antisemitism in their youth, then focused on the actual experience of walking into the camps upon liberation. Anna also looked at the role of female liberators in comparison to the formation of Jewish masculinity and examined the postwar experiences of Jewish liberators, including an examination of post-war faith. Next month, Anna will be moving to England to attend the University of Cambridge, where she will pursue a Masters of Philosophy in Multidisciplinary Gender Studies. She plans to study sexual violence in conﬂict zones. Following this, Anna is attending Georgetown Law where she will study human rights law and continue to advocate for sexual assault
survivors. Anna was a ﬁnalist for the Rhodes Scholarship, Mitchell Scholarship, and Gates-Cambridge Scholarship, and was a university nominee for the Truman Scholarship.
Micaela Procopi ‘17, History
Micaela Procopio discovered a passion for Jewish American history in her junior year with Dr. Kirsten Fermaglich’s class, and was awarded the College of Social Science Torch Award. She has gone on to be a PhD student at Gratz College, earning her degree in Holocaust and Genocide studies. She has been honored during Holocaust Remembrance Month for her incredible work advancing our understanding of the Holocaust and our ability to educate future generations about this tragedy.
"I was interested in studying the Holocaust and encouraged that the Jewish Studies minor would help me in future career choices. At that time I had no idea how much the Jewish Studies minor was going to play a role in my life. Following my graduation from Michigan State I earned a Master's in Public History in Washington DC and wrote my thesis on the Holocaust in Italy.
My Jewish Studies minor has significantly helped me understand my area of focus and my career path because as a core of my teaching is to make the beauty and history of Jewish culture and heritage the forefront. I believe that teaching and educating about the Holocaust is crucial, not as part of Jewish history but as a part of human history and the concept of democracy. I equally believe that you cannot teach the Holocaust and not also teach the life and richness of Jewish history before the 20th century. My background and advocacy in Jewish life has helped me to become one of the leaders and facilitators at my full time job-The Lab School of Washington-where I am spearheading the charge for a Jewish Affinity Group, as part of our school’s mission for Diversity, Equity & Inclusion. I recently have begun a part-time job, in addition to my full-time teaching, as a teacher at Washington DC’s Machar for Humanistic Judaism as one of the Jewish Cultural School teachers. Every other Sunday I spend a couple of hours with a small group of fourth graders and we study Jewish beliefs, core values and the beginning of Jewish history. I learn something new every day with these kids and I feel the richness and beauty of Judaism every time I’m with Machar. The Jewish Studies minor truly helped me gain a wide understanding of Judaism and its importance in our everyday society and I’m really excited to see where it takes me next."
Abby Laporte ’17
Abby graduated from James Madison College in the fall of 2017 with a major in Comparative Cultures and Politics and a minor in Jewish Studies. As part of her minor, she was fortunate enough to study abroad in Israel with Professors Yael and Eric Aronoﬀ for two months in the summer of 2017. “There, we spent our time further delving into the Israel-Palestinian conﬂict and ways that it might be resolved by studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, learning about community by spending time at kibbutzim, traveling to surrounding borders to learn about security challenges, and ultimately, we were exposed to ﬁrsthand knowledge and experiences that I could have never gotten from the inside of a classroom. I felt so inspired when I returned back to the U.S. that I decided I wanted to pursue graduate school in Israel, and this fall, I will be returning to Hebrew University to do my Masters in Human Rights and Transitional Justice.” Abby hopes to forge a career with an NGO after graduation that focuses on conﬂict resolution and the promotion of equality. She says, “I am incredibly thankful that I had the opportunity to study in Israel last summer because I would have never found my post-graduate path without the ﬁrsthand, invaluable experiences I had as an undergraduate.”
David A. Criss '16 (Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy)
Since graduating with a minor in Jewish Studies (PTCD '16), David has received an M.A. in economics from Wayne State University and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in economics and urban sustainability at Wayne State University. His interest in teaching and research began and was fostered most during his study abroad experiences as a James Madison College student at Michigan State University. While studying abroad in Israel, where he and his classmates studied Jewish history and politics at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, David also conducted an independent research assignment with Professor Yael Aronoff, analyzing the economic and social obstacles faced by Ethiopian-Israeli citizens. Upon his return to the United States, he helped establish a student-led organization to help raise and send back donations for the Ethiopian National Project in Israel. The Ethiopian National Project is an institution that uses funds to help provide Ethiopian-Israeli teenagers with the social and educational tools to realize their academic and career potential. David's exploits in Israel strengthened his teamwork and leadership skills. The experiences he gained in the honest and inclusive learning atmosphere of the Jewish Studies program helped him tremendously throughout his postgraduate career.
Tyler Thur '16 (International Relations)
Having grown up as a Roman Catholic and graduating from a Jesuit high school, I often get confused looks when I share that I earned a Jewish Studies Minor. To me, though, this experience was an integral part of my growth at Michigan State. For one, film showings, symposiums, luncheons, and speaker events hosted by the Jewish Studies Program broadened my cultural exposure and social network in a way that encouraged me to seek difference. With that, classes with Professors Aronoff and Benziman on Israeli politics, culture, and society along with international relations in the Middle East provided opportunities to add context to my undergraduate degree while developing still-relevant critical thinking and communication skills. Finally, Professor Hanshew’s History of the Holocaust course hardened my commitment to combating hate while emphasizing the importance of maintaining a rigorous ethical orientation. I am grateful for these lessons and skills that the Jewish Studies Program afforded to me. They have made me more effective and principled in my current role as the Assistant Director of Data and Evaluation for the Office of K-12 Outreach in MSU’s College of Education.
Sarah Kovan ’16 (Comparative Cultures and Politics and Human Biology)
Nearly a decade after jointly studying at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem with Professor Yael Aronoff and volunteering for Israel’s national emergency medical service, Sarah Kovan continues to work on understanding the barriers to health access in a global health context. Following her time at Michigan State University, Sarah received an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies and an MSc in Medical Anthropology at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar. Upon returning to the United States, she earned a medical degree at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth before moving south to Boston. Sarah has finally finished her time in the classroom and is now a psychiatry resident at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She continues to remain interested in the application of social and humanistic studies within the medical practice, as first identified under Professor Aronoff’s mentorship, and will be focusing on providing refugee mental health care in her future psychiatric practice.
Laura Gottlieb ‘15 (Interdisciplinary Social Science)
Laura Gottlieb took full advantage of the Jewish Studies program at Michigan State University as an undergraduate student. Her Jewish History courses turned into an independent study when she applied for and was awarded the College of Social Science Dean’s Assistantship to continue her research on anti-Zionism in the Reform Movement. Laura presented her findings at the Jewish Studies Student and Faculty Research Seminar and at UURAF where she won first place in her section. This work later connected her to her dream job as director of the Rabbi Leo M. Franklin Archives and Prentis Memorial Library at Temple Beth El in Bloomfield Hills, MI. Today, she manages the materials she had once researched for her work and collaborates with other community resources to bring Temple Beth El’s library and archives collections to new audiences. Laura received the 2022 36 under 36 award by The Well and Detroit Jewish News.
Samantha Drasnin ‘15 (International Relations)
As part of Samantha‘s Jewish Studies minor she studied Israeli politics, society, culture, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. In 2015, she participated in the Jewish Studies summer study abroad program at Hebrew University, which inspired her to continue exploring Israel and eventually move there.
She currently resides in Israel and credits her experiences in the Jewish Studies program and at Michigan State as integral to her decision to move there. She recently earned her master’s degree in Security and Diplomacy at Tel Aviv University. Samantha currently works as a research analyst at Windward, a maritime AI company in Tel Aviv that utilizes artificial intelligence to help governments and companies manage maritime-related risk. Samantha’s work focuses on identifying vessels and trends within the maritime domain that pose a risk to border security.
Sarah Strasberger '15
Since graduating from James Madison College with a specialization in Jewish Studies, Sarah has been working as a Jewish communal professional in metro Detroit. She worked as a special events coordinator for the Jewish Community Center and the Jewish Federation of Metro Detroit, planning and implementing community events, fundraisers, and speaking engagements for visiting dignitaries. Last spring, Sarah began working for Jewish Family Service of Metro Detroit as the Program Manager for the Cancer Thrivers Network for Jewish Women. Sarah credits her Jewish Studies education for her success as a Jewish professional. “The critical thinking and problem solving skills I learned in my Jewish Studies courses has helped me approach my work in an extremely thoughtful and perceptive way, which is a special skill for a young professional looking to make a big impact.”
Samuel “Sam” Appel ’14
After completing his Jewish Studies Minor, Sam worked with the Michigan State University Hillel House, as well as several other university Hillels around the state of Michigan. Hillel is the center of Jewish student life on campuses and provides religious, cultural and Israel-related activities. Sam says, “My professional goal was always focused on supporting an open dialogue about religion and Israel on campus. This was a skill signiﬁcantly supported by my experience with Jewish Studies.” Sam is currently completing his MBA from Wayne State University with a focus on Marketing.
Ben Lemanski '14 (JMC, International Relations / Comparative Cultures and Politics)
"The highlights of my minor in Jewish Studies were plenty, but I would have to say that a significant highlight was taking Professor Ken Waltzer's class on the Holocaust. In the class I was able to explore more of the experience that other targeted minorities had, including LGBTQ+ individuals, that really resonated with me due to my own identity.
A lot of the classes I took for my Jewish Studies minor dealt with Peace and Justice - so I really believe that my minor helped develop my ability to empathize with others and their stories.
I've been in DC for the past few years working in the private sector for a consulting firm where I've been on teams that work with others from all over the world (another way that my minor has helped me - cultural intelligence!). In the future, I'm hoping to make the transition to something in the non-profit sector whether that has to do with Jewish studies, LGBTQ issues, or something else we will see!"
Rabbi Simon Stratford ’12 (Social work)
Rabbi Simon Stratford majored in social work and completed a minor in Jewish studies through the Serling Institute. Rabbi Stratford credits his experience learning Hebrew with Ellen Rothfeld and Jewish history, from Dr. Kirsten Fermaglich, as a significant reasons he felt prepared to enter rabbinical school upon graduating from Michigan State. In his junior year of college, Rabbi Stratford spent a semester studying abroad at Tel Aviv University, which was an unforgettable experience made possible with support from the Serling Institute. Having been ordained in 2017, Rabbi Stratford served for three years as the rabbi of a small congregation in rural Maryland. Currently, he is the Associate Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Sholom of Cincinnati. As a rabbi, he strives to lead by example and enrich the Jewish identities of individuals and families through meaningful prayer, ritual, and pastoral care.
Raffi Appel ’12
been living in DC and working in the progressive digital marketing space. He interned on Obama's digital team in Chicago in the ﬁnal months of the 2012 campaign, and that is where he got his start. Raﬃ is currently Director of Strategic Services at Trilogy Interactive, a full-service, left-leaning digital agency. They often have to break new ground when building campaigns for clients. Raﬃ says that Eric Aronoﬀ's summer study abroad in Israel was an eye-
opening experience and allowed him to see how Israelis broke new ground and innovated in agriculture, water preservation, and alternative energy to make the desert bloom. He says that his experiences in Israel inspire him to look back at Israel’s experience when faced with a challenge, and wonder: is there a better, simpler way to do this?
Becca Farnum ’12
In Summer 2010, Becca Farnum travelled to Israel with MSU's Jewish Studies, participating in "Nature, Culture and Environmental Issues in a Green Israel" and "Summer Program at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem". Her experiences that summer, and subsequent coursework on environmental politics in the Middle East, led her to apply for a Marshall Scholarship for study in the UK. An MSc, law degree, and PhD honed her scholarly examination of environmental peacebuilding with case studies in Israel-Palestine, Morocco, Lebanon, and Kuwait. Now, she teaches sustainability and global justice at Syracuse University's London Center. Her flagship course is a ten-day field studies class taking students to Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle to examine environmental justice - a seminar whose setup is inspired by the "Green Israel" program she herself did a decade ago.
Marissa Perry '12 (JMC, International Relations)
"The highlight of my minor in Jewish Studies was working with Professor Waltzer to conduct an independent research study of a women’s concentration camp, Leipzig-Hasag. The project involved attending a seminar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum to learn how to use concentration camp records for research, travelling to Buchenwald and Auschwitz, and spending a week in Bad Arolsen, Germany to study the original camp records at the International Tracing Service Archives. After graduating from Michigan State, I continued researching the Holocaust in Germany on a Fulbright scholarship—this time focused on post-World War II trials. After returning from Germany, I began law school at the University of Michigan, graduating in 2017. I clerked for the Honorable Diana E. Murphy on the Eighth Circuit before joining Davis Polk & Wardwell, a corporate law firm in New York, in the fall of 2018. Although my work no longer involves studying the Holocaust, I continue to use the research and writing skills I gained through my independent research project every day."
Megan Holland ’11
Megan graduated from James Madison College with an International Relations major and a Jewish Studies specialization. She studied abroad in Israel during the summer of 2010, and subsequently completed her senior seminar with Dr. Aronoﬀ. She also took “Jews and Antisemitism” with Dr. Waltzer. After graduating Megan moved to Washington, DC to work for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. She spent her time there focusing on federal animal welfare policy and lobbying eﬀorts. She recently moved back to the Lansing area, and plans to complete a second degree in the veterinary ﬁeld through Michigan State University.
Geoffrey Levin '11
Eleven years after taking Professor Yael Aronoff’s “Israeli Politics and Society” course as a student at MSU’s James Madison College, Geoffrey Levin is heading back to the “Israeli Politics” classroom – but this time as an Assistant Professor of Israel Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. At Emory, Professor Levin will be a tenure-track faculty member based both in the Department of Middle Eastern and South Asian Studies (MESAS) and the Tam Institute for Jewish Studies. He earned his PhD in History and Jewish studies from New York Universities in 2019 and then spent a year at Harvard University a postdoctoral fellow. Though Levin’s doctorate was in history, as a professor he will be returning to the interdisciplinary path he began at MSU, teaching a wide array of courses in Israel Studies, Jewish studies, and Middle East studies at Emory. Mentorship from Professor Aronoff and Professor Ken Waltzer was crucial to Levin’s decision to become a Jewish Studies minor at MSU, and to study abroad at the University of Haifa with the aid of Jewish Studies Program scholarship during his senior year. That decision led him to pursue a master’s degree in international relations at Johns Hopkins University before turning toward academic, culminating with his appointment at Emory starting in the 2020-2021 academic year.
Sara Kirsch ’11
Sara graduated from James Madison College with a major in International Relations and a Minor in Jewish Studies. She is currently working as a Digital Copywriter at Quality Score, one of the leading digital marketing agencies in the Middle East. She is also the blogger for ‘Olim In Tech,’ a volunteer-led community geared towards empowering and connecting newcomers to Israel who work or want to be working in hi-tech. At MSU, her most memorable and signiﬁcant courses were under Professor Kenneth Waltzer and Professor Yael Aronoﬀ. Professor Waltzer’s course was on “Jews and Antisemitism,” and Professor Aronoﬀ’s class focused on regional politics in the Middle East. “I became highly engaged and intrigued in Middle East peace and conﬂict resolution as well as in Israeli Foreign policy.”
Marissa Cloutier '10
Since graduating from MSU’s Eli Broad College of Business and James Madison College with a specialization in Jewish Studies, Marissa has pursued a career in international trade by working at the U.S. State Department, NASA, and a small defense company. Currently, Marissa works at the U.S. State Department in an office responsible for ensuring exports of defense articles (e.g., military aircraft, ordnance, weapon systems) to foreign governments and companies to advance U.S. national security and foreign policy objectives. She works with U.S. defense manufacturers, foreign militaries, and embassies on a daily basis and travels to support her mission. While at MSU, Marissa strove to blend her interest in international relations and business. The Jewish Studies specialization provided curriculum and mentors to guide her passion. Marissa studied the Hebrew language and participated in the MSU Jewish Studies Summer Program at Hebrew University. With the Slade and Ed Levy scholarships from the Jewish Studies Program, Marissa also interned at the U.S. Embassy in Israel with the U.S. Department of Commerce, U.S. Commercial Service, which promoted U.S. exports by linking U.S. companies with Israeli companies for business partnerships. Marissa had the opportunity to apply her classroom studies by using her Hebrew language skills and business knowledge during her internship.
Zack Colman '10
"Not many people choose a study abroad based on the courses being offered, but that's exactly what I did in the summer of 2008. My five weeks at Hebrew University's Mt. Scopus campus gave a tremendous introduction to a land I'd only read and heard about through synagogue and the news. I'd always felt a connection to the land; growing up in a secular Jewish household -- emphasis on secular -- it was the way I identified with my heritage. But witnessing its complicated past and present up close demonstrated things are not as black and white as presented in U.S. media. I really valued Marc Bernstein's curriculum that summer, as he tried to stretch our imaginations of what Israel is and could be by taking us to Silwan, a majority Palestinian neighborhood in Jerusalem, and bringing cross-cultural speakers to our classrooms. It was truly an enriching experience and helped to guide my future studies and the journalism I practice today by ensuring I enter a situation with no bias and truly seek to understand the motivating factors and historical grounding that animate actions today. That epistemic charity has been crucial as I navigate difficult, interconnected issues regarding climate change, economic justice and the fear of change and transition when covering energy and environment policy for POLITICO."
Josh Kanter '09
Josh Kanter graduated in 2009 with a JS Minor in addition to his BA in Political Theory and Constitutional Democracy from James Madison College and a specialization in Peace and Justice Studies. Josh spent a summer at the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University with a group from Michigan State led by Yael Aronoff, which inspired a year-long internship at the Israel Democracy Institute with Career Israel (through MASA) after he graduated. His coursework in the Jewish Studies Program at MSU served as the cornerstone of his professional path in the Jewish non-profit world. He went on to earn an MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work Jewish Communal Leadership Program and has worked for the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit, American Jewish World Service, and UJA-Federation of New York. Josh currently works for Reboot, an arts and culture non-profit that reimagines and reinforces Jewish thought and traditions for the 21st century. He lives on the Upper West Side in Manhattan with his wife, Allie, and their adorable daughter, Zoe.
Daniel Kuhn ’09
Since graduating from James Madison College with specializations in Jewish Studies and Muslim Studies, Daniel has lived in Washington D.C. He currently works at the Government Accountability Oﬃce
(GAO), a legislative branch federal agency that works for Congress to audit the executive branch and ensure that taxpayer dollars are used eﬀectively, eﬃciently, and as intended. Daniel focuses on homeland security and justice issues, including a wide range of areas including: drug enforcement, border security, immigration, ﬁrearm enforcement, the Coast Guard, and recovery from natural disasters, among others. Daniel has published reports in areas as diverse as the James Webb Space Telescope and other NASA projects, drinking water quality near military bases, innovative international aid models, and most recently, prosecution of people denied ﬁrearms purchases. Prior to joining GAO, Daniel completed a masters in public administration from American University. “My Jewish studies courses helped me develop as a learner: how to read analytically, how to conduct quality research, and continue to develop as a writer in topics that allowed me to develop the skills I need, and use in my career, and as a leader in my community. Without a doubt, my studies at James Madison College and my Jewish Studies minor put me on that path that led me to where I am today.”