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Mizna Fellowship

office of international programs


The Mizna Fellowship Fund was established through the generous gift of one of BC’s alumni to create new opportunities for BC undergraduates for international travel for research, language study, internships and service learning initiatives throughout the Islamic world.


Grants in the range of $2,000 will be awarded on a competitive basis to Boston College students including freshmen, for whom travel may be an introduction to the world of Islamic scholarship and to seniors who seek to expand their understandings of Islamic cultures, history, language and societies in order to author a distinguished senior thesis. As an exception, projects taking place in Israel/Palestine will not be considered.


To apply, students submit a research project proposal, associated budget, a faculty recommendation, transcript, and a service project proposal using the online application form. Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

Service project proposals should include details regarding placement and should ideally be supported by some form of verification from the organization based on-site where the candidate plans to volunteer. Include the number of hours you plan to spend at the service site and a personal reflection on how you will help the community and what you will gain as well. Service project length should factor in the time needed to make an impact on local communities. Please note that the service component must be competed abroad.


A selection committee composed of Boston College faculty members, senior administrators, and affiliates of the Islamic Civilization and Societies (ICS) Program will make Mizna Fellowship Fund award decisions twice every year. Funds may be used over the summer or during the winter break, to enable a final critical piece of research needed to complete a senior thesis.


Students awarded the Mizna Fellowship will be asked to provide confirmation of their plans, including finalized flight itineraries which are to be submitted 30 days prior to departure. Fellows agree to present a report to the Mizna Fellowships Grant Committee, consisting of a 3-page summary of their research findings, as well as to deliver a presentation on the project proposal topic at Boston College (students completing academic programs abroad may submit a reflection paper on an academic research topic). Reports must be received within two weeks of the end of the project/program end date with agreement that fellows will further coordinate an approved time and venue for the presentation, most likely the Panel on Research and Study Abroad in the Middle East in October. Please note that any University grant amounts paid to students in excess of tuition & fees, and books are subject to state and federal tax.

Mizna Fellows will be featured as award recipients on the Boston College web site.


For more information contact Christina Hatzipetros at the Office of International Programs.

Application Deadlines

Summer (May-September): February 5

Academic Year (December-May): October 1



Read more about Mizna fellows below.



Carly Sullivan '20 was awarded a Mizna Fellowship in 2018 for her Arabic language study in Rabat, Morocco. Originally from South Boston, Carly is studying International Studies and Political Science at the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Carly volunteered with children from low-income families to learn about access to education in the country.

Learn more about Carly and her project.


Kyle Costa '20 was awarded a Mizna Fellowship in 2018 for his Arabic language study in Beirut. Originally from Cincinnati, Ohio, Kyle is studying Islamic Civilization and Societies and Political Science at the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Kyle studied at the American University of Beirut’s Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies.

Learn more about Kyle and his project.


Omeed Alidadi '18 is originally from White Plains, New York, and was awarded the Mizna Fellowship in 2016 for his volunteer work in Rabat, Morocco. Omeed is a Political Science and Islamic Civilization and Societies Major on the Pre-Law Track at Boston College. For his research project, Omeed worked under the support of UBELONG, a nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., to teach English and conduct research on the country’s educational system.

Learn more about Omeed and his project


Ejona Bakalli '16 was a Philosophy and Islamic Civilizations and Societies Major at Boston College. She is from New York and originally from Tirana, Albania. Ejona was awarded the Mizna Fellowship in 2016 for her thesis research on the Ottoman Imperial Harem while in Istanbul, Turkey. She became interested in the topic of the Ottoman Imperial Harem when she encountered different forms of separation between male and female spaces in her Albanian community after revisiting it with an American perspective. Her thesis concerns the most elaborate form of harem, or separation, found in the Ottoman imperial model.

Learn more about Ejona and her project


Ayo Ojo '16 was on the pre-medical track as a Psychology Major and a Studio Art Minor at Boston College. Originally from Bridgeport, Connecticut, Ayo was awarded the Mizna Fellowship for her research in Kuwait. Her research influenced her to explore her interest in mental health further. After graduation, she will be attending Columbia University for her MPH in Epidemiology with a concentration in Global Health.


Matt Sanborn '17 is originally from Plymouth, New Hampshire, and came to BC to study International Studies and minor in Economics at the Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences. Matt was awarded the Mizna Fellowship in 2015 for his summer research in Kuwait regarding politics and oil relations in the Gulf. More specifically, Matt researched the effect that OPEC’s predatory oil pricing has on Iran’s economy and Iranian-Kuwaiti relations.

Learn more about Matt and his project.

Minza Fellowship student profile

Austin Bodetti '18 was awarded the Mizna Fellowship in addition to the Advanced Study Grant to conduct research in South Asia in 2015. Austin is not only majoring in Islamic Civilization and Societies Major, but he is also minoring in Arabic Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. He received this award as a Freshman in the Gabelli Presidential Scholars Program. He conducted research in Myanmar to volunteer and conduct research on the Rohingya population, Myanmar’s largest Muslim minority group.

Learn more about Austin and his project

picture of Echo

Ariana Caraffa '15 is an Islamic Civilization and Societies Major and a Faith, Peace, and Justice Minor. Ariana was awarded the Mizna Fellowship for her research on violence against women in Jordan. Her senior thesis was on women’s rights in Jordan related to sexual and family violence. Ariana plans to pursue a career in international human rights with a focus on the Middle East.

Learn more about Ariana and her project.

picture of Sullivan

Trevor Jones '20 was awarded the Mizna Fellowship for his research in Amman, Jordan in 2017.  Originally from New York, Trevor is studying Political Science and minoring in Chinese. Additionally, Trevor is a Presidential Scholar at Boston College. His research was influenced by his volunteer experience with the Jesuit Refugee Service in Jordan where he was inspired to learn more about Sudanese refugees.

Learn more about Trevor and his project

picture of Costa

Echo Zhuge '20 was awarded a Mizna Fellowship in 2017 for her Arabic language study in Morocco. She was also awarded the Omar A. Aggad Fellowship for her research in Doha, Qatar. Originally from China, Echo is studying Political Science and minoring in Ancient Civilization in Classical Studies at Boston College. Her research was looking at Modern Islam through a Chinese Lens, where she wrote about different practices of Islam in North Africa and the increasing role of art and culture in the Gulf to a Chinese audience.

Learn more about Echo and her project.