Sherif hails from New Jersey, where he grew up and attended Rutgers University-New Brunswick. He graduated from Rutgers with a degree in Political Science and Honors in English. His senior thesis was focused on the fluctuating Orientalism in Moby Dick.
Throughout his undergraduate career, Sherif worked for political campaigns, nonprofits and various political and cultural organizations focused on social justice and cultural visibility and presence.
His research interests include historical conceptions of political and social Islam in Africa, methods of decolonization, transitions from pre-colonial to colonial structures, and revolution. He has traveled to Egypt and the Middle East seven times, and aims to holistically understand the history and historicity of the African continent as it links to the Middle East.