Dahlia Petrus

“I found it to be an integral and important part of my experience returning to school.”
Dahlia Petrus
Dahlia Petrus

The daughter of Iraqi immigrants, Dahlia grew up feeling the effects of discrimination in her mostly white, suburban Michigan neighborhood. However, moving into the diverse community of the University of Michigan campus made Dahlia feel as though she had entered a “completely different world” which, though new to her, felt like “finally being at home.”

Dahlia was motivated to help other students like herself: especially nontraditional students and students of color. She worked as a lecturer and advisor for the Comprehensive Studies Program at U-M after receiving her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Psychology.

Dahlia came to the Center for the Education of Women in 2009 to talk through some ideas about pursuing a second graduate degree. She met with a senior counselor, Doreen Murasky, who helped her sort through various options, including how to fund her new studies. Dahlia is now enrolled in a Master’s degree in Modern Middle Eastern and North African Studies. She hopes to continue her career in lecturing and advising students while getting involved in the Arab-American Studies program within the American Culture department at U-M.

“My particular interest is in cinema and representation,” she says. Dahlia is interested in exploring the ways in which cinematic representations of Arabs, Arab-Americans and the Middle East have cultural weight and significance in foreign policy decisions, which are issues that she explored while teaching a course on American Culture.

Dahlia received a CEW scholarship, which helped finance her master’s degree. She is grateful for the financial support and for the confidence and encouragement she received from her conversations with Doreen. She says, “I found it to be an integral and important part of my experience returning to school.”