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Joshua Fisher, a double-major in psychology and Arabic studies, plans to move to Israel during the next two years.
Commencement 2016 profile: Joshua Fisher
May 16, 2016Tweet
To better understand himself, Joshua Fisher is learning how to understand the world.
“We are constantly miscommunicating today,” the Harpur College senior said. “There are a lot of nonverbal cues we lose in texting like tone of voice, hand gestures and mannerisms. There’s a lack of understanding each other.”
As a research assistant to Associate Professor of Psychology Celia Klin, Fisher worked in a communication lab. Fisher contributed to the nationally recognized study “Texting insincerely: the role of the period in text messaging” published in Computers in Human Behavior in November 2015.
The study looked at an experimental group of students and their reactions to one-word text messages using periods and exclamation points. Students had to rate their reactions as either positive or negative. Two semesters of research encouraged Fisher’s communication curiosity.
“In the lab, we conduct experiments in the field of psycholinguistics, or the psychology of language,” Klin said. “Joshua’s interests in language learning and in psychology make him a perfect fit for this work. The range of his interests and accomplishments is inspiring.”
Along with psychology, Fisher is also majoring in Arabic studies and minoring in Hebrew and Judaic studies. He is focused on strengthening the communicative relationships that fill his life.
Being a Jewish student, one of the most influential classes for him was a Qura’nic Arabic course last fall. Fisher learned how to read the Arabic used in Islam’s Quran.
“[Fisher] has avidly pursued the study of Arabic and the cultural heritage of the Arab peoples and developed a keen appreciation for the significance of language in forging relationships and building bridges of understanding,” Assistant Professor of Arabic Omid Ghaemmaghami said. “I was thrilled and impressed that he chose to study both Arabic and Hebrew. He broadened his horizons in Near Eastern studies.”
While a majority of the Israeli population speaks English, Fisher wants to dissolve all possible language barriers. Along with learning Arabic, he is bettering his Hebrew, a language he has been previously taught through religious instruction.
“Judaism is a huge part of me,” Fisher said. “I really wanted to take classes that interested me and helped me improve my Hebrew.”
Before coming to Binghamton University, the Albany native spent six months in Israel learning Israeli politics, training for the military and experiencing farm life. The experience that pushed him the most to explore the country was a game.
“On the very last week we were sent on a two-day scavenger hunt across Israel,” Fisher said. “We had to read riddles and get ourselves from city to city. It was the greatest experience traveling with three of my friends in a foreign country.”
Expanding his knowledge on life and law in Israel, Fisher plans to move there for the next two years to join the Israeli Defense Forces.
“I feel it’s my responsibility as a Jew,” Fisher said. “I look at all Jewish people as extended family and I want to serve them. I am proud of my culture and it is important for me to fight for it.”
Fisher’s four years at Harpur College helped him understand the community that his heritage and religion have offered him. But the group he is proudest to be a member of is the one he reached out to here at Binghamton University: his friends.
“The best part of college has been the community around me. I’m living in an apartment building filled with friends,” Fisher said. “Coming home and constantly being around people you connect with is the best and that’s what I am going to miss the most.”