Student Profiles

Marie Therese Antony

2015 MA Student

Marie Therese Antony is a second year Master's student in Africana Studies. She completed her undergraduate studies at Bonn University in British, American and Post-colonial Studies. Her thesis discussed the impact of white privilege systems on African American ballet dancers . After interning at Schauspielhaus Düsseldorf, Institut Francais Deutschland and different dance companies, she is currently pursuing post-graduate studies at Freie Universität Berlin in Dance Studies (Tanzwissenschaft) and came to NYU as a Fulbright grantee. Her research interest is the representations of ethnic and cultural variety of society on stage and the implications of white privilege systems in the performing arts. 

Erin B. Gaede

2015 MA Student

Erin B. Gaede is a second year MA student in Africana studies whose research interests concern how the process of decolonization and the politics of foreign aid influence the course of democratization in West Africa. Erin earned her BA with honors in Politics, Philosophy, and Economics with a minor in Religious Studies from the University of Washington. Her art, research and writing concern the relationship between class, gender, race, neoliberalism and community empowerment in West Africa. Prior to attending NYU she lived and worked in Ghana teaching English, fundraising for improvements in school infrastructure and implementing after school reading programs for struggling students. Her passion for traveling has guided her prolonged backpacking ventures through five countries in West Africa as well as South America and Eastern Europe. Besides traveling she enjoys reading, running, and cooking in her spare time.

Amara Green

2016 MA Student

Amara Green is a first year MA student in Africana Studies with a concentration in Museum Studies. She recently received her bachelors degree from UCLA in World arts and Cultures, and African American Studies. Her research interests focus in examining the role of creative and artistic expression in fostering dialogue surrounding the nuanced experiences of African Diasporic life. Amara is specifically interested in cultural memory and the use of the body within film, photography and other visual arts among Black artists.  She is also interested in examining the impacts of arts education, and the role of museums and cultural organizations in communities of color.

Marika Joyce Hashimoto

2016 MA Student

Marika Joyce Hashimoto is a first year graduate student in the dual degree program for Africana Studies and Library & Information Science. She graduated with a BA in Black Studies from Amherst College in 2006, and is a recipient of the Edward Jones Prize for her thesis on Ndebele architecture, which focused on the role of women and art in post-apartheid South Africa. Marika is interested in studies about the African diaspora in comparison to black American identity. She recently moved back to the US after 10 years in Japan, where she became interested in the West Indian, African, and Afropean communities of Tokyo. In 2013 she founded Diaspora Links, a community library which continues to hold events and workshops for Japanese and international residents of Japan. In her research, she hopes to study youth identities with regard to bilingual/bicultural identity, the politics of migration, and media representations of women and LGBT people of color. She is a member of the Public History Collective at CUNY and is interested in digital archiving projects which preserve oral histories and promote cultural visibility

Rachel Klein

2015 MA Student

Rachel Klein is a second year Master's student in Global Journalism and Africana studies. She received her Bachelor's of Fine Arts in Dance with a minor in African and African-American Studies. Upon graduation, Rachel went on to join one of the founding Black modern dance companies, Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble in Denver, CO. Also while living in Denver, Rachel served as a Teacher's Assistant for the Metropolitan University course: Hip-Hop Culture Vs. Rap Music and the Commodification of Social Identities. Rachel worked as the social media, blog and communications coordinator for Emmanuel Weyi, a presidential candidate in the upcoming Congolese election. Rachel founded her own blog "Come Home With Me" in 2013 and has been published on the social justice online publication Truthout and is a contributing writer for HipHopDx and KillerBoomBox.

Nayo Sasaki-Picou

2015 MA Student

Nayo Sasaki-Picou is a second year MA student in the Africana studies program. She graduated from York University with an interdisciplinary degree in African Studies and Anthropology. After returning from conducting Anthropological research in Greece, she became interested in interrogating questions of migration, identity and artistic production among diasporic populations, particularly focusing on movement from West Africa into Europe. Her research interests include the intersections of migration, cultural identity, state regulation and artistic production.  Having a passion for uniting community and arts, she co-founded a steel-band orchestra and African Studies Association at York University where she used arts as a medium to inform her academic and community work throughout her undergraduate years. As a published student writer, she will continue to use themes of African diasporic identity, state intervention, migration, and cultural production to influence her writing and final thesis project.

Symphonie Swift

2016 MA Student

Symphonie Swift is a first year master’s student in Global Journalism and Africana Studies. She received a bachelor’s of arts in International and Area Studies with minors in African Studies and Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. After completing her studies, Symphonie went on to lead undergraduate students abroad in multiple educational trips to Tanzania. She has also served as a teaching and research fellow for the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies and worked as the Manager of Global Expansion for Arrow Global Capital, a small impact investing intermediary. Her main research interest at this time is the perception, portrayal and misunderstanding of Africa and the diaspora in development and aid outreach and marketing.

Hayley Wagner

2015 MA Student

Hayley Wagner is a second-year MA student who holds Bachelor's Degrees in Anthropology, French, and Human Rights from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. Her research interests are primarily focused on gendered health care practices, maternal health, and body politics in francophone Sub-Saharan Africa.  On a 2012 trip to Rwanda, Uganda, and South Africa with SMU's Embrey Human Rights Program, Hayley researched the effects of Female Genital Mutilation on women of reproductive age and created a report on grassroots efforts to curb the practice in Northeastern Uganda. Her domestic research consisted of an ethnographic study of Congolese immigrants in the Dallas-Fort Worth area and their perceptions of self-identity and medical "deservingness" with regard to individual experiences with health care in Texas.  This research resulted in a presentation at the Mid-America Humanities Conference in 2014 as well as an Anthropology thesis entitled "Une Nouvelle Vie: Health Care and Identity of Congolese Immigrants in Texas" (2014). Through further research and travel, Hayley's goal is to examine the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality related to health care practices and use this knowledge to work with local non-profits advocating for reform for women's medicine.

Africana MA Alumni

Over the last decade The Africana Studies Program has graduated an impressive group of scholars, educators and cultural workers. Below is a list of these graduates and their current positions.


Class of 2015

  • Jamiles Lartey, Glo-Jo Journalism/Africana Studies; Lost Children of the Living: The rise of the Ghanaian Orphanage in a Neoliberal World; will be working full-time with The Guardian on a long-term project tracking police violence
  • Whitney Gaspard, Africana Studies; "Oh Na-Na" What's My Name": Reciting Representation in the Performance Work of Grace Jones, Nicki Minaj and Rihanna
  • Jeffrey Konen, Africana Studies; Racism, Freedom and Political Violence in the Historical Consciousness of Contemporary Abolitionist Thought
  • Sally Edmonds, Glo-Jo Journalism/Africana Studies; Festival Season

Class of 2014

  • Roxsanne Dyssell, Africana Studies; Who is Tagging #Africa? Case Study on Popular Collective 'Africa' Websites; is the Co-founder and Marketing Director at Nalla International LLC
  • Tamerra Griffin, Glo-Jo Journalism/ Africana Studies, Afropolitan Dreamers; is a news assistant at Buzzfeed 
  • Genet Lakew, Africana Studies; Betwixt and Between: Creating, Negotiating, and Contesting Diaspora African Identities; Digital Content Producer at National Urban League, NYC
  • Lauren Morton, Glo-Jo Journalism/ Africana Studies;This Woman’s Work: The Perils of Childbirth in New York City; is an associate producer at CNN, working on the Ashleigh Banfield show and New Day Weekend


Class of 2013

  • Alexsandra Mitchell, Africana Studies & Library Science; Reference Librarian at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Jacob Basbøll, Africana Studies; International Reporter at Danish Institute for Human Rights
  • Ho Sung Jin, Africana Studies and Economics
  • Angelica Allen, Africana Studies; PhD student in African and African Diaspora Studies program at the University of Texas, Austin
  • Heather Smith, Africana Studies; Parent Counselor at New York City Department of Education


Class of 2012

  • Anthony Ferreira
  • Joelle Dominique Blackstock, Volunteer Coordinator of the NY Writers Coalition, NYC Civic Corps
  • Kena Cherriece Cador, Paralegal, Hua & Murga LLP
  • Morakinyo Ogunmodimu, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Linguistics, University of Indiana
  • Nicolet Gatewood, Africana Studies; Controlling Our Images: A Look at Popular Culture & Black America Through the Commercial Work of Photographer Barbara DuMetz (1974-1984); Independent Consultant, Museums and Cultural Institutions 


Class of 2011 

  • Papa Malick Ba, PhD Candidate, Depts. of English and American Studies, Dakar University
  • Megan Leah Goins, Media Librarian, Institute of African Amerian Affairs, New York University
  • LaShaya Shari Howie, Educational Coordinator, Weeksville Heritage Center
  • Sachiko Koto, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Language and Culture, Osaka University
  • Shamira Muhammad, Freelance Journalist in Paris, France Lucy
  • Ekukpe Odigie, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Communications, American University


Class of 2010 

  • Jennifer Adrian Cason, Intern, Feinstein/McGuiness PR Nicole Harrison, Curator, Columbia College Chicago
  • Alexia Jarrell Hogan
  • Sherrae Marchel Hayes, PhD Candidate, Depts. of African American and African Studies, Michigan State University
  • Jillian Clark Nowlin, Sustainable Development Intern, International Institute for Justice and Development
  • Tamara Nicole Varner, Recovery Analyst, Real Time Resolutions Brendan
  • Emb Wattenberg, Collection and Exhibition Manager, Walther Collection


Class of 2009


  • Gaia Willow Fried
  • Kathe Sandler, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Women's and Gender Studies, Rutgers University-New Brunswick


Class of 2008

  • Amalia An-Noor Mallard, Adjunct Professor, College of New Rochelle Grace
  • Aneiza Ali, Founder|Editorial Director, Of Note Magazine
  • Konju Briggs Jr., Research Assistant, Essex County College Africana Institute
  • Siobhan Tresa Dixon, Editor, B.Couleur Magazine
  • Kristine A. Saul, Associate, Day Pitney LLP


Class of 2007


  • Ademid Adelusi-Adeluyi, PhD Candidate, Dept. of History, New York University
  • Jalylah Iynaas Burrell, PhD Candidate, Depts. of African American Studies and American Studies, Yale University
  • Jonathan Omowale Cain, Assistant Professor of African/ Puerto Rican/ Latino Studies, Hunter College of the City University of New York
  • Sandrine Germai Colard, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Art History, Columbia University
  • Nia Malika Davis, Director of Grants, Higher Achievement
  • Adriane Rose DeKalb
  • Keisha Nicole Dawson, Management and Program Analyst, United States Federal Government
  • Angela Michelle Farr Schiller, PhD Candidate, Dept. of Drama, Stanford University
  • Antonia So Felix-Prime
  • DeBrecca S. Pressey, Public Affairs Developer and Coordinator, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
  • Claudia Lorraine Pryor Malis, Founder and Executive Producer, Diversity Films, Inc. (Deceased)


Class of 2006


  • Sheehan Hawkins Grant, Head of Doe/Moffitt Library Privileges, University of California, Berkley
  • Ole-Martin Ihle, writer, Funk Hauser Production


Class of 2005


  • Crystal Artis, Senior Assistant Director of Diversity Initiatives, New York University


Class of 2004 

  • Danielle Jackson, Co-Founder and Project Director, Bronx Documentary Center
  • George Dewey Yancy, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Duquesne University
  • Rise A. Wilson, Program Manager, Leveraging Investments in Creativity


Class of 2003

  • Carolyn Jean Hart, Senior Lecturer in Creative Writing, London Metropolitan University