Sarah Islam BA’05

The biggest factor by far was the time and attention that faculty invested in students like myself. The assistance they provided has had a lasting effect on me as a student and as a person.

Home: Princeton, New Jersey

UT Dallas Degree: BA – Political Science, 2005
Pursuit: Doctoral student- Princeton University, Department of Near Eastern Studies, with focus on the social history of law and gender

My Work

As a doctoral student, I am currently a ‘professional student’ but I hope to pursue a career in the academy, as a professor in the field of legal history and gender studies. I am currently a doctoral student in Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where I am pursuing research in the area of Islamic family law, gender studies, and women’s social movements on a University fellowship. In my senior year at UTD, I was awarded a Boren Fellowship to study Arabic abroad (in Cairo, Egypt). From there, I received a two year FLAS (Foreign Language Area Studies) Fellowship at Princeton University, where I completed my M.A. in Near Eastern Studies. Thereafter, I received an Arthur Liman Fellowship (Yale Law School/Princeton) to pursue an internship in Washington, DC with a public service legal organization.

I have published on issues related to Islamic law and gender with Brill, Sage, and Oxford University Presses, and have given presentations on similar issues at UN organizational affiliates, the U.S. Departments of Justice and State, and at NGOs in Europe and the United States. I am fluent in Bengali and Arabic, with intermediate fluency in Persian, and reading knowledge of French and German.

The Value of My Degree

When I think back about my experience at UTD, I cannot imagine a better preparatory experience for what I decided to pursue in terms of graduate study. I feel that the Political Science degree itself offered just enough structure to keep me focused, but just enough flexibility to allow me to try new things and explore my interests. I think that the factor that had the most impact however, was the amazing personal interaction I was able to have with the UTD Political Science faculty. Professors Harpham, Champagne, and others were so incredibly helpful. They provided so much time for me to meet with them during office hours, not only to discuss questions I had about the content we were covering in class, but also to discuss my ideas and interests, and potential means of improving my skills. Frankly, I could not have imagined a better or more productive experience than the one I had at UT Dallas.

My EPPS Success

The biggest factor by far that contributed to my success at UTD was the time and attention that faculty invested in students like me. The best memories I have of UTD are those of the countless office hours I spent in Professor Harpham’s and Professor Champagne’s offices, discussing everything from coursework to future life choices, to current personal choices I was making. The assistance they provided has had a lasting effect on me as a student and as a person.

Advice for EPPS Students

Get to know your professors! Take the time to meet with them during office hours. Get involved in the student organizations they sponsor and don’t be afraid to take risks when it comes to trying out new things as far as your professional and academic interests are concerned.