Student spotlights

Student spotlight: Maryum Elnasseh

October 15, 2018

Maryum Elnasseh in front of a brightly graffitied wall in PragueMaryum Elnasseh was an inaugural recipient of the Baldacci Student Experiential Learning Fund scholarship, allowing her to travel to Prague, Czech Republic on an intensive journalism study abroad program.

The “Going on Assignment in Prague” program provides students with the opportunity to receive instruction from established journalists working for a variety of media, including Reuters, The New York Times, the BBC and Radio Free Europe. The program focused mainly on foreign reporting in order to prepare students, like Maryum, to complement the journalism trade with a “dream of working as activists, advocating for resolutions to global issues.”

Maryum was drawn to the program’s engagement with relevant sociopolitical topics such as sexism in journalism and politics, and reporting under conflict, and to the program’s flexibility in allowing students to pursue stories of interest to them. For her part, Maryum investigated the rising Islamophobia in Czech Republic as a result of the Zeman presidency and the European refugee crisis, paying special attention to the impact of Islamophobia on women.

One of Maryum’s most memorable experiences on site was being invited to the home of a Czech Muslim woman who generously shared her personal story and broadened Maryum’s understanding of life for Muslim women in that region. Ultimately the experience allowed Maryum to bridge her two majors, political science and journalism, in a way that will shape her reporting in the future, and that will allow her to elevate the voices of marginalized people across the globe.