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Graduate Students

Bedii Duru Altug received his B.A. in Linguistics from the University of Washington in 2011 while also majoring in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization and a minor in International Studies. Having studied Turkish, Uygur, and Russian his focus lies in Central Asia, primarily in comparative Turkic studies, ranging from Comparative Turkic Linguistics to the Socio-Economic impacts of increasing inter-Turkic relations. As President of the Association of Central Asian Studies at the UW, Duru intends to promote Central/Inner Asian Culture, helping students from the region adjust to American life and to work on building interest and awareness in the field of Central Asian Studies.

Rachel Brown completed her B.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilization at the University of Washington in 2013. Her language focuses are Persian, Turkish, and French. She is currently the project manager for the Svoboda Diaries Project and her research is focused on the ethnographical and biographical history of the Svoboda family in Iraq and other areas of the Middle East in the late 1800s.


Richard Eyraud received his B.A. in Germanics from the University of Washington. He also completed his graduate studies at the UW receiving an M.A. in Linguistics and a Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing Sciences. His interests include the Arabic and Persian languages and contemporary culture. He has worked in technology for over 10 years and is currently a Principal Researcher at Getty Images.

Lydia Harrington received her B.A. from Hampshire College in 2010 after completing an interdisciplinary program in Middle Eastern Studies, History and Art & Architecture History and writing a thesis on the relationship between nationalism and architecture in the Early Turkish Republic. Before coming to the UW, she studied French, Arabic, and Turkish, and she is currently continuing Turkish and starting Persian. Her experience in the region includes study in Morocco and Turkey. Her general interest is in the transition from empires to states in the Modern Middle East. More specifically, she will focus on the expression of national identity in art and architecture in the Late Ottoman Empire and Turkish Republic and what is and isn't defined as 'architecture' and 'Islamic architecture' in the MENA region.

Shira Jaret graduated from McGill University in 2006, where she majored in Jewish Studies and minored in American History. She is now focusing on Hebrew Bible and biblical interpretation from antiquity to modern times.

Lauren Montgomery graduated from Old Dominion University with a B.S. in Psychology and a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. Her interests are rooted in the cultural psychology of the region. She plans to continue to study Arabic and Turkish.

Sean Widlake graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston in 2011 with a B.A. in history where he also minored in political science. His continued study at the University of Washington is centered around Turkish language and cultural history, emphasizing Turkish diaspora in Germany.  His other research interests include: gender and sexuality, Orientalism, post-structuralism/absurdism, and biopolitics.

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