Lina Al Taan Al Hariri ’24

”(ONFAO Director) Kathleen Maher’s support has been nothing short of extraordinary... I am deeply grateful for Kathleen’s unwavering belief in my potential and her dedicated efforts to ensure my success.”
What is your major and when will you graduate?

GWS and ISD; I graduate in 2024.

Why did you choose URI?

In 2021, I came to URI from RIC as a transfer student. The decision to transfer came to me during one fateful night in finals week at RIC when I felt utterly lost, like a bird without wings. It was then that I opened my Common App and applied to URI out of a mix of boredom and curiosity. Additionally, my family and I had recently moved to a new house, equidistant from URI and RIC. Taking this into consideration, I chose to enroll in a larger university that could potentially provide me with more opportunities and a stronger Muslim community than RIC.

What do you plan to do post graduation?

My post-graduation plans include applying for a graduate studies program abroad. If I don’t get accepted, I will seek employment in my field while simultaneously
studying for the LSAT.

How are you involved in life at URI?

At URI, I am involved in various aspects of campus life. Previously, I held the
position of Secretary Chair in the URI MSA (Muslim Student Association), and I
have recently been selected to be the Vice President. I am looking forward to the
upcoming school year and the opportunities it brings to further contribute to the

Apart from my involvement in the MSA, I also enjoy participating in tutoring
activities. It’s surprising how enjoyable and fulfilling tutoring can be.

In terms of leisure activities, I take pleasure in simple yet meaningful experiences
on campus. These include grabbing a cup of coffee, utilizing the library for
studying or research, and taking walks around the beautiful URI campus.

Regarding my academic experiences, I have genuinely enjoyed all of my classes
at URI. Many professors had a significant impact on my education. One such
professor is Thomas Zorabedian, who taught the Honors Seminar in Arts &
Design and Writing. His passion for the subject matter and his dedication to
nurturing his students’ creativity were truly inspiring.

Another impactful class was Alana Bibeau’s GWS 315 Introduction to Feminist
Theories & Methods. This course not only expanded my understanding of
feminist perspectives but also encouraged critical thinking and self-reflection.

I must also mention Professor Alan Verskin, who sadly departed from URI. His
Modern Introduction to the Middle East course provided valuable insights into the
region’s history, culture, and current events. I am grateful for the knowledge and
perspectives I gained from his teachings.

Lastly, Professor Margaret Frost deserves recognition for her cheerful demeanor
and ability to create an enjoyable learning environment. Her positive attitude and
engaging teaching style have made a significant impact on my overall learning

In addition to these experiences, I am grateful to Professor Skip for including me
in CRIGHST. Being part of this initiative has allowed me to engage in meaningful
research or activities related to my field of study, and I appreciate the opportunity
to contribute to the academic community in this way.

How has the honors program and ONFAO supported/ equipped you as a student? What opportunities have you pursued through Honors and ONFAO?

I once listened to a podcast by Omar Suleiman, an American Muslim scholar, where he eloquently expressed that at certain points in our lives, we may encounter individuals who feel like divine gifts during moments of despair, loss, and desperation. In my personal journey, Kathleen Maher has been that gift to me
during times of hardship. As a transfer student, my time at URI has spanned only
three semesters, and the fourth was dedicated to studying abroad. Despite this relatively short period, Kathleen’s unwavering support has been instrumental in
my achievements. Thanks to her guidance, I was awarded the Benjamin A.
Gilman International Scholarship Program, enabling me to pursue my study
abroad opportunity. Additionally, she played a pivotal role in helping me with the
application for the U.S. Foreign Service Internship Program (USFSIP) with the
U.S. Department of State during two consecutive summers. And now, with her
invaluable assistance, I have been granted the prestigious Harry S Truman
Scholarship through the Truman Scholarship Foundation. When you consider that
these opportunities and scholarships align with each semester of my time at URI,
it becomes clear that Kathleen Maher’s support has been nothing short of
extraordinary. She is undeniably the greatest source of encouragement and
guidance within the University of Rhode Island’s Rams community. I am deeply
grateful for Kathleen’s unwavering belief in my potential and her dedicated efforts
to ensure my success. Her impact on my academic and professional journey
cannot be overstated. Kathleen Maher exemplifies the essence of support and
mentorship, and I am fortunate to have her by my side during this transformative
phase of my life at URI.

What do you hope to get out of your honors experience?

I like the honors program because it provides students with the freedom to explore
and pursue their work on any topic they desire. I appreciate the flexibility it
offers, allowing me to delve into areas that genuinely interest me and align with
my passions. Currently interning at the State Department in the Secretary’s Office
of Global Women’s Issues, part of the Office of Global Affairs, I’m excited to
combine my internship experience with the autonomy of the honors project at
URI. I am considering focusing on the impact of war on women and exploring
ways to develop a foreign policy that benefits women affected by conflict.
Specifically, I aim to investigate how war disproportionately affects women and
seek solutions to address these challenges. Ideally, I want my internship
supervisor here in Washington, D.C., to guide me in shaping my honors project.
Although I just came up with the idea, I am eager to further develop and pursue
this research opportunity.

What would you tell students thinking about the Honors program to help them prepare?

Make the most of the Honors program experience by actively exploring the
available resources. To take advantage of the support and guidance offered by
Honors program advisors, and scheduling regular meetings to discuss academic
goals and seek assistance when needed.