About me

Quick rundown

Andrew Heiss

I’m Andrew! I’m a 31 year old student, designer, and web developer from Orem, Utah. I live in Utah where I’m working on my Masters in Public Administration (MPA) at Brigham Young University with an emphasis in international nonprofit management and federal government administration (quite a mouthful there…). I completed an MA in Middle East Studies at the American University in Cairo in 2010. I’ve been married for 10 years and have two daughters. I use a Mac, take lots of pictures, and love to travel. This website is about my research, design, and development projects, as well as a central hub for my online presence. Feel free to contact me with any questions or comments! Enjoy!


Nancy Heiss Rachel Heiss Miriam Heiss

After finishing a two-year LDS mission in Rome, Italy, married an old high school friend, Nancy (Layton) Heiss in December 2005, and we’ve been happily married since then. Our first daughter, Rachel, was born in July 2007. Miriam was born while we lived in Egypt, in October 2009.

After I graduated from BYU in April 2008, we moved to Cairo, Egypt, where I studied at the American University in Cairo. Once I graduated from AUC, we moved back to Orem so I could go back to BYU and pursue an MPA.

You can follow our awesome family blog, Heissatopia, for more information about what we’re up to.


I’m currently working on my second master’s degree—an MPA with an emphasis in international nonprofit management. My goal is to combine my expertise in Middle East Studies with service in the public sector, and my research and work thus far has blended the two fields quite well: one soon-to-be published article I wrote looks at the #jan25 Egyptian Revolution in the context of the failure of Mubarak’s managerial strategy. I hope that the combination of these two degrees will lead to a fantastic career in the federal government or in international development and aid work.

I was an International Graduate Fellow at the American University in Cairo where I completed an MA in Middle East Studies. My thesis research focused on the Italian community in Egypt in the late 19th/early 20th centuries, and it should hopefully be published sometime soon. I’m also interested in the role of the internet in Middle Eastern politics and society, particularly the power of blogs as a political tool.

I speak both Arabic and Italian and have received “advanced” ratings on the ACTFL oral test for both (Advanced High in Arabic, Advanced in Italian)

I completed my BA at Brigham Young University in April 2008 with a double major in Middle East Studies/Arabic and Italian and a minor in Language and Computers. I spent a semester during the summer of 2006 at the University of Jordan in Amman where I studied Arabic.

While an undergraduate I was able to teach several classes. I taught first year Arabic (Arabic 101) for two semesters and Introduction to Print Publishing (CHum 230) for one.

Most of my research as an undergraduate focused on literary connections between Italy and the Arab Middle East during the Middle Ages and Renaissance. I analyzed the works of several Italian poets and authors, including Dante, Boccaccio, Petrarch, and Jacopone da Todi, to see what possible Arab and Islamic influences were present. In March 2007 I presented a paper at the BYU Department of Humanities Symposium Humanitatum entitled “Inferno XXVIII: Orientalism and Oedipus Meet Dante and Mohammed,” which looked at Dante’s treatment of Mohammed in The Divine Comedy.

My research in Middle East Studies focused on media Arabic and looked at the role of objectivity in news reporting in the Arab press, using the Israeli massacre at Qana, Lebanon in 2006 as a case study for the role of language in detecting bias in reporting.

Design and development

Several ago I decided to officially dive into code and development and taught myself higher level CSS, SQL, and PHP. I know some Ruby, Perl, and Python, as well, but am most comfortable with good ol’ PHP.

Besides programming, I also design on the side. I taught a university course on graphic design for a semester and I have taught dozens of public classes at the Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Lab on InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, web design, and graphic design in general. While working at the Multimedia Lab I became proficient in dozens of different software packages, from Adobe’s Creative Suite to Apple’s Final Cut Pro.

I’ve been involved in many contracted web design jobs and design and typeset books in my spare time.

I currently work as an Arabic typographer for BYU’s Middle Eastern Texts Initiative, where I typeset medieval Islamic texts in the Middle Eastern edition of InDesign with Winsoft’s incredible Tasmeem plugin (for amazing calligraphic typographic control).

I started an open source project, pdftk-php, as an outgrowth of a project I was in charge of while I worked at the HBLL Multimedia Lab.