Marsin Alshamary is a Pre-doctoral Research Fellow at the Middle East Initiative. She is a PhD candidate in the Department of Political Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she is also part of the Security Studies Program. She is generally interested in the intersection of religion and politics in the Middle East, with a particular focus on clerical involvement in the formal and informal politics. Her dissertation explores the role of religious leaders in anti-government protest in Iraq. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Project on Middle East Political Science and the Center for International Studies at MIT. She holds a BA from Wellesley College, where she was an Albright Fellow.