I come to UMass Boston from Purdue University, where I completed a PhD in English with a dual concentration in Second Language Studies and Rhetoric & Composition. At UMass Boston, I am an assistant professor in English and the director of the English as a Second Language (ESL) center. My research interests are in cultural rhetoric, writing studies, TESOL, internationalization of writing curricula & programs, in addition to program administration and assessment.
I immigrated to the United States and became an American resident in 2015, when I reunited with my family and started my doctorate degree. Prior to that, I had different academic appointments in higher education in both Lebanon and the United Arab Emirates. I am a bilingual in Arabic and English. Growing up in a multicultural, multi-religious, and multilingual society made me embrace the worth of exposure to difference and the significance of understanding the ‘other’ for effective collaboration and building successful relationships. Like many Lebanese, my attitude to foreign languages aligns with the concept of linguistic pragmatism which attributes the success of the spread of English to economic advancement rather than linguistic imperialism. This attitude facilitated my access to a plethora of educational and professional opportunities which served in building my expertise and granted me the means to navigate diverse spaces and communities.
Born in Lebanon with a Palestinian refugee status was a challenge I encountered on daily basis. From my parents who were school teachers, I learned about the value of education and believed in its power for initiating change. Inspired by my parents’ narratives and those of minority populations from around the world, I adamantly work to empower all students to initiate the change they wish to accomplish. Through my research and teaching, I focus on multiculturalism, communication across difference, culture and language, identity, teamwork, and interdisciplinary reasoning as assets for building effective research teams and projects.