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Graduate Student Stories Transcripts: Nabila Hijazi

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Transcript of Nabila Hijazi's video

I'm from Syria, and I have been here for almost, like, 29 years. I've always, always loved languages, I wanted to focus on translation, but when I came here, I did not find what I was looking for, so I decided to go into accounting and minor in English.

Then, after I finished my bachelor's in accounting, got it finished up from the Smith School, here, I worked for a year, I felt that was- that wasn't what I was looking for. So, I decided to pursue a Master's in English, with a focus on Composition and Rhetorical Studies, too. I finished my master's in 2009, then decided to apply for the PhD program.

I love meeting different students from different disciplines, especially since I work for the Graduate's Writing Center, I meet graduate students on, like, the weekly basis, so I love helping them in- in terms of writing, and I get to learn about their experiences, their research. And, also, I get to present in different conferences, at different places, and I represent the school here [inaudible 00:01:09]. So, I love my experience here.

Because I am not the, what you call, a typical student, I am wife, like, full time housewife, I am also a mother, I have children and I have other, like, responsibility to- responsibilities to take of, so I'm not on campus as much. I am here, mostly, two to three days, so I limit my time here on campus.

In each class, I- or in each academic writing class, there are a good number of students who do not identify English as a second language students, so they needed, kind of, like, special attention, or even, specific help to able to teach them how to- how to write. So, we, the project I did for my Master's Thesis is, how to train English 101 teachers to work with these diverse students.

Then, when I worked as one of the assistant directors for the Undergraduate Writing Center, one of my interns and I, we worked on a specific project of creating a website for tutors to work with different students. What I mean by different students, like, the students who do not speak English as a second language. And, we focused on how these student's cultures or first language affect their writing in English. And, we were able to publish the website, and also, go to different conferences.

For my PhD, now, I am in the dissertation process. I got my IRB approved to work on- or to work with refugee, especially refugee, like, women, and to focus on the [inaudible 00:02:34] practices, like, what affects their choices to- to enroll in English classes. What motivates them, what challenges they have in pursuing these kind of programs.

Since I came to the U.S., I have lived in this area, and because I have a- a family, and also, extended family, I felt like this is the best place to stay here, especially it- on the east coast, close to D.C. And, I did not want to relocate to any other school, and the school has good reputation, and also, my kids go to a private, Islamic school, here in College Park, so it worked perfectly. I will drop them off, come here, do my work, go there, and pick them up. So, it was, like, the perfect choice on all levels for me.

I had- I got so much support from the department, so I decided to stay here.

Even after I graduate, honestly, I'm not going to look for tenure, because tenure means I have to move to another school. And, because of all the things that I mentioned, the extended family, my children go to schools here, I feel like this is a perfect environment for me, so I- I might continue teaching here, and also, I might look for administrative work, here on campus. Hopefully I'll be- hopefully I should be able to get something here. But, I mean, I cannot- I cannot decided right now. Hopefully after I finish my dissertation.

I dropped out of school, for seven years, when I had my kids. Then, once they started school, decided to come back. Since I was young, I wanted to finish my education, and become a professor in a university.

The projects that I have done, I got so much recog- recognition, I applied for a summer research fellowship, which I got. I got for different awards, and also I received this award from the Graduate School, so it- which means that they value the projects that we're doing, and they want you- us, to continue working on these projects.

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