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Faculty Mentors Inspired SSP Graduate Hijab Shah's Time at Georgetown

Hijab Shah

Master of Arts in Security Studies

Peshawar, Pakistan

Internships during time at SFS:

Research Assistant for Dr. Elizabeth Arsenault and Dr. Ariane Tabatabai,

Afghanistan Analyst for The Stabilisation Network

Activity/internship Summer 2015:

Independent field research on police-led counterinsurgency in Pakistan

What made you choose SFS for your graduate education?

The Security Studies Program faculty were a huge draw for me in my decision to choose the SFS for graduate school. It also helped that I already had loyalty to the SFS, being a graduate of the BSFS class of 2011!

Do you have any mentors or advisors at SFS who made a big impact on you?

Professor Bruce Hoffman has not only shown exceptional leadership in the field of security studies and made the Security Studies Program a stand-out amongst its peers the world over, he is someone who cares deeply about individual students, and I have been very lucky to consider him a mentor figure during my time at Georgetown. If I could be half as amazing as Professors Elizabeth Arsenault and Ariane Tabatabai, two of the youngest but most accomplished and caring faculty members in all of the SFS, I would consider myself very lucky. And finally, my very first class at the Security Studies Program was with Professor Tom McNaugher, who has been my mentor and proxy father ever since.

How has SFS prepared you for your career path?

The academic grounding in theory and practice that I have gained at the SFS, particularly with the caliber of faculty that the Security Studies Program possesses, and the efforts that the staff puts in assisting the students, have prepared me to enter the world of defense and security policy in the best possible way.

What has been your favorite course at Georgetown and why?

Hands-On Unconventional Technology taught by Professor Andrew Herr is quite possibly one of the best classes the school has to offer. There was never a single class that I wasn’t absolutely excited for — how often does one get to play a scavenger hunt with a radiation detector, or traipse around campus in a military-grade protective suit designed for chemical warfare? To cap it all off, the professor is a graduate of the Security Studies Program and a quadruple-Hoya (BSFS and three Master’s degrees!) which made the class that much more special.

What will you miss the most about Georgetown?

I will miss being surrounded by peers who have achieved a lot in their own right — whether professionally or academically — but who are incredibly humble and down-to-earth, and hard-working. Most of all, I will miss the Security Studies student lounge where I have spent the better part of the past two years with the best people in the world, whether we were studying, not studying, laughing, getting yelled at for laughing, scavenging for free food, or just enjoying the camaraderie before heading to class.