Saint Augustine once said: “the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” By that standard, Dr. Christine Isom-Verhaaren–one of FHSS’s newest faculty members–is a tome. Her life’s book would read something like this:
- Study abroad in Paris.
- Learn French while you’re at it.
- Graduate from BYU in history.
- Meet a man in a Dead Sea Scrolls institute class.
- Fall in love with and marry that man.
- Go with that man, who is an archaeologist, to Turkey.
- Develop a rich understanding and appreciation for the country and the Ottoman empire.
- Learn Turkish while you’re at it.
- Get a Master’s and a PhD from the University of Chicago studying the Ottoman empire.
- When in Istanbul, while he studies what’s underground; you study what’s above ground.
- Give such a good scholarly presentation that a publisher asks you to write a book for them.
- Write said book.
- Become a professor at the Jerusalem Center.
- Go to Jerusalem.
While these steps may not be feasible for you to do at this point in your life, you can still take the advice of Dr. Isom-Verhaaren: study abroad. And remember: you can study abroad without doing a formal “study abroad”. “Visiting other areas of the world – particularly those you study – gives you a much richer understanding and appreciation of them.” Said Isom-Verhaaren. “My study abroad in Paris was the highlight of my education at BYU. I’d encourage anyone to do a study abroad.”
Now an expert in the study of the Ottoman Empire, Dr. Isom-Verhaaren will be teaching BYU’s first specialized class on the subject. “When I was an undergraduate here at BYU, my professor David Montgomery introduced me to a whole world of interest for me,” says Isom-Verhaaren. “As a professor, you never know if you’ll do the same for a student.“ And she hopes to influence her students in a similar way.
“The students here at BYU are, in many ways, the future of the church – and the future of society,” said Dr. Christine-Isom-Verhaaren. “I’m excited and I feel privileged to help students develop the skills they need to be successful.”
Dr. Isom-Verhaaren has three children, two of which attended BYU. Her youngest recently returned from a mission. Her and her husband live in Provo, Utah.