CJC Student Spotlight: Isabelle Greenberg (SFS ’24)

Happy October! It is time for the latest installment of our Student Spotlight Series! This month we interviewed Isabelle Greenberg, a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service from Libertyville, Illinois. Greenberg majors in International Politics with a concentration in International Security. In addition to her minor in Jewish Civilization, she is also pursuing a minor in Arabic. Read about her CJC experience below!

Q: Thank you for participating in our spotlight series, Isabelle! Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

A: Hi everyone! I am from Libertyville, Illinois, which is in the northern suburbs of Chicago. I love listening to music, going to art museums, and trying new restaurants with friends. My go-to fun fact for icebreakers is that I am afraid of squirrels.

Q: How did you become a CJC student? 

A: I was introduced to the Center for Jewish Civilization virtually, during my freshman New Student Orientation. During that time, I had the chance to meet with Assistant Director Brittany Fried, Director Bruce Hoffman, and some amazing CJC professors! I am beyond grateful for the sense of community and the “home away from home” that I have been able to experience here. I can go to the Center for anything — resume printing and review, decompressing from a tough week over baked goods, or just enjoying a quiet spot in which to relax.

Q: Can you tell us about your first CJC class? Which one was your favorite?

A: My first CJC class was “The Weaponization of Hate” with Professor Jacob Ware — I absolutely recommend it to all students! I also thoroughly enjoyed taking Professor Ed Husain’s “Islam, Judaism, and Western Civilization” course this summer.

Q: Tell us about some of your academic interests. How have you explored them as a CJC student?

A: The Center completely changed my academic trajectory during my freshman year. I was introduced to the security studies program through CJC peer mentorship (shoutout to Yebin Won!) and I have been able to develop those interests further while here. This summer, I had the opportunity to be a research and teaching assistant for Professor Sarah-Masha Fainberg’s geopolitics and regional security course, “Israel, Russia, and Eurasia.” This class is taught in conjunction with the Graduate Center for Security Studies.

Q: In September, you represented the School of Foreign Service at the Department of Defense’s Student Panel Commemorating 9/11. Could you tell us a bit about that experience?

A: It was such an honor to be nominated to participate in the Department of Defense’s panel. I was born a few short months after 9/11, but my parents have worked in the medical field as a doctor and nurse. Also, my dad was a firefighter during college and my mom worked in a police station, so when I was growing up the magnitude of what our nation endured that day was not understated. Listening to the panelists’ experiences at the Pentagon that day was emotionally charged, and it was a humbling experience to pose a question about the continued moral and civic duties we owe to the first responders of 9/11. Although I was not expecting to be called on first! That was a little nerve-wracking to say the least.

Q: That is remarkable, Isabelle! Thank you for sharing. Have you experienced any other notable moments while a GU student? Have there been any highlights of your time thus far?

A: One of my favorite moments was standing on the Leavey Esplanade with my friends at night after attending a Georgetown Weeks of Welcome event. This may sound completely mundane and ordinary, but after having been at home for the past year, seeing almost the entirety of the Hilltop all lit up at night for the first time was amazing. After the pandemic and my experience with Zoom University, I do not think I will take the little things — like that view — for granted again.

Q: What clubs, research, or work opportunities do you engage in on campus? 

A: Like many other Georgetown students, my GCal is always full and you can find me running around campus to get from meeting to meeting. I am a cellist in Georgetown’s orchestra, which has been so wonderful as a stress reliever and a break from homework. I am also in Georgetown Global Consulting, where I work with a team to help nonprofits from across the world. My current project for this semester focuses on fundraising revitalization for an organization that offers STEM education and sports programming to students in Cameroon. Throughout high school, I was the president of an internship program for a nonprofit that empowers communities in Guatemala City. So, I am beyond excited and grateful to further my passion for international development. I am also in the process of co-authoring an article with Professor Fainberg this semester that builds upon the work we did together last summer. Additionally, I am also a part of GU’s Astronomical Society and the International Relations Club, which are great for making new friends — and for study breaks!

Q: What are you most looking forward to this semester?

A: I am mostly just excited to be on campus for the first time — in-person learning is so much better than Zoom. It is great to actually be able to connect with people and get involved in activities and events on campus. Although I think I was most excited about the CJC sushi mixer this semester!