The experience of getting an MAIS degree can change your life. Find out where it's taking some of OSU's students.

Aram Mahmood

Applied Economics - Political Science - Sociology

Aram Mahmood sought out the MAIS program because it gave him the flexibility to tackle the complex issue he wanted to learn more about: the situation of refugees in his native Kurdistan.

A former refugee himself, Aram was motivated by the question of how refugees access the labor markets within their host countries, and the challenges facing them. As a post-baccaleaureate student in Economics at OSU, he learned of the MAIS from friends and teachers, and found it to be an excellent way to “apply his ideas” to this complex subject and region.

Aram choose Applied Economics, Political Science, and Sociology as the three fields he’d apply to this issue. Working with a committee led by Professor Todd Pugatch in Applied Economics, he travelled to a refugee camp set up by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Kurdistan, the Arbat Refugee Camp. There he spent over one month living with and interviewing the residents, exploring their understanding and experience of Iraqi government policy and its effects on their daily lives.

He successfully defended his Thesis “The Labor Market for Syrian Refugees in Iraq" in 2015. Its findings explore the question of how degrees of assimilation into a host country and experiences of discrimination shape a refugee’s attitudes and engagement with the labor market.

Aram’s goals upon graduation include eventual work on the international scene, with organizations like the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund. The MAIS is a springboard for these goals. As he notes, “If you wish to do work on the international level as a global citizen, the MAIS is the degree you should seek out."