Student Leaders and Members

Jenny Fang (’17)


Jenny Fang is a senior at Tufts studying International relations. She has been involved in NIMEP for the past three years and is constantly fascinated by the culture, history and political changes in the MENA region. When she is not studying the middle east, Jenny enjoys spending time in a ballroom studio dancing.

Nesi Altaras (’19)

Dialogue Coordinator, Co-Trip Leader

Nesi Altaras is a member of the Class of 2019 from Istanbul, Turkey. He is majoring in International Relations and Economics and he is interested in the Middle East and behavioral economics more specifically. Born and raised in Istanbul, Nesi is a member of the small Sephardic Jewish community of Turkey and one of very few Sephardic Jews at Tufts. He is very passionate about politics and is involved with Tufts Democrats, NIMEP, the International community and serves on the TCU Senate. He speaks Turkish and English, some Spanish, and is studying Arabic at Tufts. Nesi enjoys reading in Turkish and English, as well as writing short stories and poems primarily in Turkish. He spends time watching numerous television shows and movies, and reading. He enjoys listening to Turkish pop music and classic jazz. An avid traveler, he is trying to see as much of the US during his four years at Tufts.

Mia Ellis (’18)

President, Co-Trip Leader

Mia is a junior at Tufts University from Montclair, NJ. She is majoring in quantitative economics and math with a minor in Arabic. She's interested in pursuing a career in economic development. She's interned for the Humane Society of the United States working as an activist and lobbyist and the United States Public Interest Research Group as a member of their transportation campaign, and the Mo Dewji Foundation in Tanzania.

Kate Hirsch (’17)

Kate Hirsch is a Senior majoring in International Relations with a focus in International Security. She has taken both Arabic and Chinese throughout Tufts, and is interested in policy in both the MENA region and East Asia. This past semester, she conducted independent research on social movements through the School of International Training in Rabat, Morocco. She is extremely excited to continue this research in North Africa.

Kristina Mensik (’17)

Event Coordinator

Kristina (A17) is majoring in Environmental Studies and Peace & Justice Studies, concentrating US-MENA policy and the intersection of concepts of justice and security in international relations. She’s thrilled to have the opportunity to join NIMEP as Events Coordinator, and to travel to Tunis with NIMEP in order to research Tunisian perspectives on US posturing and policy in the region. Currently, Kristina is interning for The Nakba Museum Project as it evolves into The Museum of Palestinian People. On campus, she works in the UEP department as a research assistant, writes and serves as Press Director for Melisma Magazine, Tufts’ music journal, and enjoys fumbling with her guitar and running.

Peter Sahagian (’17)

Journal Editor & Co-Event Coordinator

My name is Peter Sahagian and I am a senior at Tufts studying International Relations. I am from Lynnfield, Massachusetts where I went to school and later attended St. John’s Prep in Danvers. I am an active member of my church, the Armenian Church at Hye Pointe in Haverhill and its youth group. At Tufts I have focused my studies on the Middle East and have studied abroad in Jordan while learning Arabic. I have not conducted any field research of this kind before and so I am looking forward to this trip.

Ethan Whitman (’18)

Media & Communications Director

Ethan is a sophomore at Tufts from Wenham, MA. He is studying Clinical Psychology and Spanish. He is interested in a career in mental health care, specifically in the interactions between mental health and culture. He is currently a research assistant in the Shin Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Neuroimaging laboratory at Tufts.