Sanders is a recent PhD graduate of the School of Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Arizona. Her 2020 dissertation is titled "Politics of Care and Reverberations of Trauma: Syrian Refugees in Izmir, Turkey." Her dissertation explores a broad framework of international, national, and local institutions including care and assistance sectors (health care and humanitarian aid), the labor market, and urban settlement that are part of the interface between Syrians and the Turkish state. It connects Syrian effects and emotions to the institutions that regulate their everyday lives through multiple interventions. Currently Mija is working on a book based on her dissertation.