Congratulations to Mehdi Fernando

I don’t tend to write all that much about my experiences as a teacher with undergraduate students, although I’ve had some interesting students and some rewarding experiences.  Sometimes my students have gone on to pursue careers as historians, and that’s gratifying, but I know that only a few students will do that.

Some of you have seen my students on television.  Here’s one:

That’s right.  Isaiah Mustafa took my senior research seminar, turned in a solid paper, and then went on to do other things as he recalls here on page 41.

And here’s another:

Alison DuBois took my Civil War and Reconstruction class over ten years ago.

Now that I’ve got your attention …

Mehdi Fernando has taken several classes from me, despite the fact that he’s a fan of the Atlanta Braves and the Detroit Lions.  Several years ago he came to me with a problem: he was finding it difficult to obtain United States citizenship, due to some very unusual bureaucratic circumstances for which he was not responsible.  Those circumstances involved various diplomatic issues that really need not be discussed, but it was evident that this was an interesting case of the unintended consequences of American diplomacy.

Over the next several weeks we discussed various strategies to get him back on the right track.  He put a lot of work into resolving what was a difficult situation, all the time completing his coursework.  He received his degree from ASU.  Now I’m happy and proud to announce that at last he’s becoming a citizen of the United States.

Congratulations, Mehdi.