Posted by on July 11, 2011 in Blog

Every summer, AAI hosts 10-12 well-qualified interns from an applicant pool of over 100 undergraduates and recent graduates. Selected interns are deeply involved in their communities, highly successful in their studies, often speak multiple languages, and demonstrate hard work and enthusiasm in all their work.  Interns are selected to represent AAI at a variety of D.C. organizations, ranging from advocacy groups and political parties to members of congress and government agencies.

We are particularly proud of our eleven 2011 interns, selected from a remarkably competitive field for their impressive history, experience, intelligence, and motivation. Each brings a unique skillset and passion to the group, and many have already produced fantastic reports, analyses, research, and reports.

AAI will periodically feature the writings of our interns in the coming months, so look out for guest posts from each of the people below:


Fatima Al-Zeheri

Fatima is the President of the US-Iraqi Youth organization at Arizona State University, where she studies Political Science, International Relations, and Arabic and Islamic studies. As part of her program, Fatima participated in a White House youth roundtable initiative with President Obama to discuss discrimination and misconceptions about Muslims and Arab-Americans, and the importance of social equality for all Americans.  Fatima has been placed at Foreign Policy in Focus, where writes, edits, and researches on militarist U.S. foreign policies.


Maryam Al-Zoubi

Maryam Al-Zoubi graduated with Highest Honors and Academic Distinction from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in International Studies and Arabic Language, and a minor in Social and Economic Justice. Ms. Al-Zoubi will begin a Master’s Program at the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration this fall, utilizing her degree to facilitate healthy discussion around issues of gender identity in the Muslim Community. In the near future, she plans to attend law school to become a federal prosecutor specialized in human trafficking litigation. Ms. Al-Zoubi has been placed at the Campaign for America's Future where she conducts research and writes blog content on a range of domestic policy issues.


Ed Gaier

Ed Gaier is currently placed as a research intern for the communications strategy firm TSD, Inc. Ed attended Siena College where he studied Arabic for a semester in Amman, Jordan in 2006 and graduated with his bachelor's degree in political science in 2008. He recently graduated from George Mason University with a master's degree in political science. While in school he started a graduate student led political blog, co-founded a political science graduate student group, served as president of the Middle East Etc. Film Club, and acted as a judge on George Mason's Honor Committee. Ed specialized in studying comparative politics focusing on authoritarianism and development in the Arab World. He wrote his master's research project on the democratization and domestic regime alliances in Jordan since 1989. Ed continues to pursue his academic interest through writing book reviews and articles as an independent scholar.


Daniel Korey

Dan Korey is a student at American University in Washington, D.C. studying Political Science, Communications, and Law. At American, he serves as the Outreach Director for the American University Community Service Coalition and is a member of Students Fighting Homelessness and Hunger. Dan is placed at the New America Foundation under the Middle East Task Force, where he conducts research and public policy analysis on Arab issues, specifically the Arab Spring and the Arab-Israeli conflict. 


Laura Neme

Laura Neme is a recent graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn, where she was awarded one of 50 “Difference Maker” awards in the Winter of 2011. She will be attending law school soon to pursue her goal of public service. In college, she volunteered in a variety of capacities including serving as President of Phi Alpha Delta (Pre-law Fraternity) and being elected as a Senator in Student Government. She has interned with both a private law firm and the 20 th District Court in Michigan. Laura served in the Office of Presidential Correspondence in the summer of 2009, and is currently serving as a Volunteer Leader in the same office.


Sara Nitz

Sara is originally from Oakland, California. In May 2010, she graduated from Colgate University with a B.A. in History and International Relations and moved to DC in December to attend the Graduate Gateway Program at American University. Previously, Sara worked at international development advocacy organization and a peace and conflict resolution non-profit that was working on a systematic approach to peace. She has a particular interest in United States foreign policy and looks forward to going to graduate school to study the issue more in depth.Sara is currently interning at Congressmember Karen Bass's office, where she works on Foreign Affairs and Environmental issues.


John Sakakini

First generation Palestinian-American John Sakakini joins AAI's team being placed at the United States Agency for International Development's (USAID) Middle East & Asia Outreach Bureaus.  A graduate of The George Washington University with a B.A. in Middle East Studies and International Affairs,  John joins the USAID team after completing his work as the Senior Support Consultant at AAI working to plan annual Kahlil Gibran Spirit of Humanity Awards Gala.  He also has extensive development and Middle East experience being fluent in Arabic and having lived in both Egypt and Palestine working for ANERA in Jerusalem, in the education sector in Egypt, and for Pact, Inc in Washington.


Kristina Stepanek

Kristina is a Czech-American junior majoring in International Affairs and Psychology at the University of Georgia. She serves as an Advocate in University Judiciary for students allegedly in violation of University policies. She is very involved in promoting awareness of international conflicts and disasters on campus. Her life’s goal is to make the world a more peaceful, accepting place through cross-cultural understanding and religious tolerance. This fall she will organize a mock peace process between local Israeli and Palestinian organizations. After completing her Bachelor’s degree, she plans to attend law school and work in the field of immigration and conflict prevention. Kristina has been placed at the American Civil Liberties Union, where she conducts research on legislation threatening the Constitution’s principles and civil liberties.


Natalie Tagher

Natalie Tagher is a rising senior at Davidson College in North Carolina where she is a Political Science major and hails from New York City.  She is of Lebanese descent and has travelled throughout the Middle East, most recently in Lebanon, where she spent six weeks absorbing the culture, taking basic Arabic classes at the American University of Beirut, and interning with Teach For Lebanon, an organization under the umbrella of Teach for All.  At AAI Natalie is the Yalla Change Intern focusing specifically on the grassroots campaign by the same name.


Tess Waggoner

Tess Waggoner attends Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where she is a Religious Studies and Asian Studies double major, with a concentration in Islamic Civilizations and Cultures and a minor in Philosophy. At Kenyon, she serves as president of the Middle East Student Association and sings with the Kenyon College Chasers and Gospel Choir. Tess works as a campus tour guide and mentors incoming students as an Upper Class Counselor. The proud granddaughter of the late Maryse and Ramzy Mikhail, she also serves on the speaker selection committee for their Memorial Lecture Series at the University of Toledo, which sponsors an annual lecture pertaining to Middle East culture and politics. Tess is placed at AAI Headquarters working directly with Dr. Zogby. 


Rula Zaru

Rula was born and raised in Ramallah, Palestine. She is a junior at McDaniel College where she studies Sociology and serves as president of the Student Government Association. This summer, alongside her internship with AAI, she is conducting three research studies with her professor on various sociological topics. Rula works directly with the Community Relations Department at AAI and has represented the organization at events across the country. She also conducts primary research for AAI’s new state demographic profiles. 




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