Janine and her bro, Omar at graduation
Burke alum, Janine Khraishah was an unforgettable member of Burke world, excelling in school, on the field and in service to the community. After graduating from Burke in 2008, Janine went to Brown University where she was recently welcomed, as a Junior, into the prestigious Phi Beta Kappa honor society. Here’s what she has to say about her experience so far at Brown and how life at Burke helped prepare her for Brown:
What are you studying at Brown?
I am studying International Relations with a focus in Political Economy and Middle Eastern Studies. My coursework is varied: Economics, Anthropology, History, Political Science, and Sociology, which is good because I think it is really important to take a variety of classes as an undergrad However, I’m concentrating in Middle Eastern Studies so that I will have in-depth knowledge about a particular area as well. Best of both worlds!
Favorite classes at Brown?
My favorite class at Brown so far is “Globalization and Social Conflict” taught by Professor Heller. You know a class is good when you are not looking at your watch every five minutes! This class really shaped how I perceive poverty and inequality in the world. Everything we learned was so relevant to what is going on in the world today.
Other things you’re working on at Brown?
In addition to my studies, I am on the Board of the Brown Muslim Students’ Association. Currently we are renovating the Brown Muslim Students’ Center: we have raised $12,000 so far! We also organize social events for Muslim students and other events that seek to educate the Brown community about Islam. I am also president of the Open Arms Initiative, a student group that works with immigrants (mostly Iraqi) in the Providence area, tutoring them in English and generally help them navigate life in the US.
What role did Burke play in your preparation for college?
Burke prepares you well to approach professors outside the classroom with confidence. At Burke, you are encouraged to talk to your teachers and build relationships with them outside the classroom, which is a really important skill to have when you are one of five hundred students in a lecture-based class. I also developed strong writing skills and learned how to approach writing research papers at Burke, both of which are crucial college skills.
J9 and Bob K. and H.
What were some of your favorite classes at Burke?
Favorite classes at Burke included Chemistry with Bob and AP English with Robbie. Really good, challenging classes. Also both Robbie and Bob are really passionate about their respective subjects and it really shows through in their teaching.
Softball Senior Day
I am really glad I played sports at Burke. It was definitely integral to my experience at the school, and I made some of my best friends on those teams. I learned a lot of skills from playing sports that I still carry with me. I learned how to manage and organize my time better from balancing sports and school. I think its important to challenge yourself in different ways outside of the classroom, and being involved in athletics allowed me to do that. Nothing teaches you more about discipline like a 6:00 in the morning practice with Pam, or perseverance like trying to climb out of a 6-0 hole in a softball game!
What did the Burke community mean to you?
I found that the community at Burke was strong and intimate. It is nice to go to a school where you are familiar with most everyone, and everyone knows you. Burke’s faculty facilitates this sense of community in a strong way. The teachers I had at Burke really cared about their students and would go out of their way to get to know them. That doesn’t stop when you graduate either. Last year I got a care package from Rachel Braun, went out to coffee with Robbie, and sent a few French papers I had written to Tamara for feedback. Whenever I come by something that I know will be interesting to a Burke teacher, I’ll email them about it. It’s nice to know that I’ll always have the support system I had at Burke.
Burke’s celebration and valuing of people’s differences also helped my transition to college. At Brown, I was really surprised by the diversity I encountered. I’m not just talking about racial diversity, which there is quite a bit of here. I also mean the diversity of interests that I have encountered. I have met potters, singers, poets, cricket players, breakdancers, and a lot more. I love belonging to a community where I experience such a mélange of people on a day to day basis. In high school, I found that my friends were quite similar to me, but at college that is definitely not the case
What does the Phi Beta Kappa honor mean for you?
I was really honored to receive Phi Beta Kappa. Phi Beta Kappa is not solely a reward that reflects the grades you receive. It also reflects the strength and variety of the coursework one chooses to take. At a school that offers its students an extraordinary amount of flexibility and liberality in the courses they choose, it is nice to receive a reward in recognition of how carefully and thoughtfully I have constructed the curriculum I have chosen to follow.
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