Assistant Professor, Political Science
Campus Box 0406
(717) 337 - 6039
Yasemin Akbaba (PhD Political Science, University of Missouri-Columbia, 2006) is an Associate Professor at Gettysburg College. Her research focuses on mobilization of ethnic and religious groups and the effects of religious discrimination on ethnic and religious conflict. Her (single authored and co-authored) publications have appeared in Journal of Peace Research, Nationalism and Ethnic Politics, Ethnopolitics, Civil Wars, International Interactions, Politics and Religion and Politics, Religion & Ideology. She teaches courses on International Relations, War and Politics, Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict, Contemporary Issues in Middle East Politics, International Relations and Religion (Capstone) and Contemporary Issues in Turkish Politics.
Associate Professor, Psychology
Campus Box 0407
(717) 337 - 6198
Kathleen Cain received her PhD in psychology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 1990. She is a developmental psychologist who studies children's social and emotional development, and she has published articles and given conference presentations on the children's motivation and their beliefs about themselves and others. Her courses include Developmental Psychology: Infancy and Childhood, Laboratory in Social and Personality Development, History of Experimental Psychology, and a first year seminar, The World's Children. From 2005 to 2009, Kathy was the Associate Provost for Faculty Development and then the Acting Vice Provost. She spent a year teaching and conducting research in Cairo, Egypt as a Fulbright Scholar before returning to full-time teaching at Gettysburg College. Currently, she is involved in a research project with Egyptian colleagues that examines the psychosocial adjustment of Egyptian children with Type I diabetes.
Abdulkareem Said Ramadan
Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary Studies
Campus Box 0390
Abdulkareem Said Ramadan earned his Ph.D. in Arabic and Applied Linguistics at the University of Damascus where he also earned an M.A. in Arabic Syntax and Morphology and a B.A. in Arabic Language and Literature. Abdulkareem has taught Arabic at the French Institute for the Middle East (IFEAD), the British Council, and the Arabic Department at the University of Damascus. He was the coordinator of the Arabic program at the Arabic Language Center at the University of Damascus, where he taught Arabic as a Second Language. He began teaching at the Middlebury College Arabic School in 2006 and also taught at Washington University in St. Louis and at the University of Virginia, where he coordinated the Arabic program.
Assistant Professor, Religious Studies
Campus Box 0408
(717) 337 - 6790
Megan Adamson Sijapati received her PhD from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in the field of Religious Studies, with a South Asia and Islamic regional focus. Her research and teaching interests are in religious experience, authority, and revival; material culture; and religious violence and non-violence. She is the author of Islamic Revival in Nepal: Religion and a New Nation, (Routledge, 2011 and 2013), and a number of other essays. Her courses include Introduction to Islam (REL 270), Islam in the Modern World (REL 272), Islam in South Asia (REL 357), Experiencing the World(s) of Islam (FYS 175), and Religious Diversity and Conflict in South Asia (REL 360).
Associate Professor, Religious Studies
Campus Box 0408
(717) 337 - 6461
If you sign up a course with religion professor Stephen Stern, be forewarned - he's going to mess with your head. Take his Introduction to Religion class, for example. "What is sacred?" he asks on the first day. Shrugs ripple through the room. "Is the American flag sacred?" "Yes," students respond almost unanimously. "Why?" "Because of what it symbolizes," someone says, and others nod. "Would you be offended if it's burned?" "Yes, absolutely," most reply. "But isn't freedom of expression one of the things it symbolizes?" Stern prods. "And if that's the case, shouldn't you allow someone to burn it?" You get the idea. Throughout the discussion, Stern takes great pains not to reveal his perspective. You argue one side, he'll push back on the other. "The whole goal is to show them that life is paradoxical," he says. "They get very confused and they get really passionate, but they're hooked - and they love the discussion that follows." "The art of good teaching is making information relevant to students and challenging their assumptions," he says. "It doesn't matter if the subject is Islam, or Judaism, or secular philosophy. If you can make it relevant, they'll be drawn to the courses." In one course, the Holocaust becomes a starting point for a broader discussion of discrimination. Students come to understand how discrimination manifests itself in black-white relations on America's streets, or even among different groups on campus, often in ways they don't realize. "It's easy to hate the Nazis and feel sorry for the Jews," Stern says. "The hard part is to look at the Holocaust and see what lessons we can learn for our daily lives." In a course on the Hebrew Bible, most students say they think Eve seduced Adam into eating the apple. But Stern challenges them to find evidence of this in the text. When they can't - because, he says, it isn't there - conversation turns to how our views are shaped and what the implications are for our lives. "It creates a really interesting dilemma," he says. "But that's what college is all about." The point, Stern emphasizes, is not to get students to agree with his or any other point of view, but to help them ask good questions, listen to others' perspectives, and develop informed opinions about things that matter. "I get satisfaction when students articulate what they have to say and do it well," he says. "I like it when students realize that they're smart. When they get engaged and you see the brains popping, that's exciting."