Don't overlook library research resources, Simon says
B.A. '10 Arabic
Librarian mentor, Rachel Ariel
Andrew Simon T'10, who majored in Arabic and did a DukeEngage project in Yemen in '07, found great assistance and even financial reward from Duke Libraries for the research he conducted on the Middle East. His work included “The Iranian Hostage Crisis: A War of Words, Not Worlds” for Associate Professor Ylana Miller’s History of the US and Middle East and an honors thesis, "Intertwining Narratives: The Copts and their Muslim Relations."
Simon's library advice for undergrads: "Meet with the librarian who specializes in the topic you're interested in." The two-time Durden Prize winner connected with Duke librarians such as Rachel Ariel, a Judaica/Hebraica expert. Librarians can help you find resources you might not find through laborious Google searches, Simon said. (Ariel's advice for students who want to get started is simply to send the librarian an email and ask to schedule an appointment.)
Plus, Simon says, if you've produced research you're proud of, consider submitting it in a Duke competition. He three times won Durden prizes that recognize Duke University students’ excellence in research, analysis, and writing and their use of primary sources and rare materials held by the Libraries’ general collections. The award also carries a cash prize of $1,000.
As for research helping him with his future career, Simon earned a fellowship to study Arabic in Cairo, Egypt, through the Center for Arabic Study Abroad. Duke interviewed him on Skype after he witnessed history in Cairo during the overthrow of the government. We believe he eventually hopes to enroll in a Ph.D. program in Near Eastern Studies.