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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department

Current Graduate Students

  2015 (go to an email address by clicking a name)
Kiara Hill joined the Ph.D. program and is from Sacramento, CA. She received her B.A. in Mass Communications from Sacramento State University, and her M.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of Alabama. Her interests include Black female sexuality in popular culture, transnational feminism, Black feminism, and Anti-haitianismo in the Dominican Republic. She is on the literature and culture track. Kiara has received the Diversity Fellowship for 2015-2016. Congratulations!

Chloe Hunt is from Eugene, Oregon. She attended the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington where she studied Literature and African-American Studies. Her interests are in identity formation in contemporary Black literature and television. She is on the literature and culture track.

Christopher Martin (C.J.) is from Smithfield, Rhode Island. He received his BA in History from Assumption College, MA in English from UMass Boston, and he is finishing his MA in History at UMass Boston. He is interested in researching slavery, freedom, and racial conflict in the antebellum North. He is on the history and politics track.

Nandi Marumo joined the M.A. program and is from New Orleans, Louisiana. She received her B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Smith College. Her interests are in black American and Caribbean music, specifically blues, jazz, rap, and dancehall and the social, cultural, and political contexts from which they emerged. Also, she is interested in black cultural and political movements and in pursuing research at the intersection of black radical thought, black music, and black action. Nandi is on the literature and culture track.
Ivan Rosario joined the M.A. program andwas born and raised in Springfield, MA. He received his B.A. in Ethnic and Gender Studies from Westfield State University. Ivan interests focus on the use of Hip Hop, sports and other forms of entertainment as social tools of exploitation and degradation of Black culture. He is on the history and politics track.
Kourtney Senquiz grew up in Eastern Mass and currently resides in Springfield. She received her B.A. from UMass Amherst in Afro-Am, and M.A.T. from Elms College. Kourtney has also studied at Mass Bay, University of Ghana, and Kokrobitey Institute in Ghana. Kourtney is interested in exploring the role African American literature plays in promoting activism against an oppressive patriarchal society. She is on the literature and culture track.
Leydi Vidal is from Bogota, Colombia. She has a B.A. from Distrital University Francisco Jose de Caldas. Leydi is a recipient of the Fulbright scholarship. She is interested in proposing new alternative models of education in which the real history of African and African descendant people will be visible in schools and universities’ curricula in Colombia. Her plans are to focus on enhancing her knowledge of African American Studies, Africa and its Diaspora in both a historical and contemporary context. She is on the history and politics track.
  2014
 

Nadia Alahmed is from Palestine. She received her BA in English Language and Literature from Birzeit University and MA in Comparative Literature from Rutgers University. Her interests include the Black Arts and Black Power Movements and aesthetic, historical and political relations between these movements, and the Palestinian Liberation Movement and Palestinian Poetry of Resistance. She is on literature and culture track.

Evan "Howard" Ashford is from Kosciusko, MS.  He received his B.A. in Accounting and M.A. in Public Policy and Administration from Mississippi State University.  In 2013, Howard received a M.A. in History from Jackson State University.  After researching his family history from age 11, he published an 18 volume book series detailing each individual line from which he descended. This research enhanced his interest in African American History.  Evan is on the history and politics track.

Olivia Ekeh is from Worcester, Massachusetts. She received her B.A in History and minored in Black Studies from UMass Dartmouth. Olivia’s interests include 20th Century Black History with a special interest in black identity during the Black Arts Movement of the 1950’s to 1970’s. She is also interested in researching the history of the Gullah people of the Sea Islands. Olivia is on the history and politics track and is the recipient of a 2014-2015 Diversity Fellowship.

Keyona Jones joined the M.A. program and is from Springfield, MA. Keyona received her B.A. in English and Afro-American Studies from UMass Amherst.  She is president of her sorority, Delta Xi Phi Multicultural Sorority Inc. Keyona’s interests include Women of the Harlem Renaissance.  She would like to examine the female artists, both musicians and writers of the time, with a focus on the literature
of Zora Neale Hurston.   She is on the literature and culture track.

  2013
Nneka Dennie is from Leonardtown, MD.  She received her B.A. in Political Science from Williams College. She is interested in researching political theory, racial politics in the Caribbean, 19th century Black feminism, and global expressions of Black feminism. Nneka is on the history and politics track and is the recipient of a 2013-2014 diversity fellowship.

Carlyn Ferrari is from Rohnert Park, California. She received her B.A. in English from Pacific Union College and her M.A. in English from San Francisco State University. She is passionate about higher education and spent her professional career working with and teaching at-risk, underrepresented students.  Her research centers on representations of blackness and black figures and identifies the ways in which past racial dogmas have influenced our current understanding of race.  Carlyn is on the literature and culture track and is the recipient of a 2013-2014 university fellowship.

Crystal Webster was raised outside of Phoenix, AZ. She earned her B.A. in African American Studies from Oberlin College.  After leaving Oberlin, Crystal taught 4th grade math and science at George H. Oliver Elementary School in Clarksdale, MS. An accomplished violinist, she taught violin to students as well. Crystal's research interests surround theories of racial identity/formation linked to miscegenation laws in the early 20th century.  She is on the history and politics track.

G. Xavier Orr joined the M.A. program and is from Hartselle, Alabama. He received his B.A. in American History from the University of Pennsylvania, and a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Connecticut. He is interested in examining the ways in which the social climate that existed during the Reconstruction period, as reflected in policies, personal accounts, institutions, etc., supported racist ideologies that favored White over Black.  Gary is on the history and politics track.

  2012

Maria Ximena Abello Hurtado is from Cali, Columbia. She is a social worker who graduated from Universidad del Valle. As an active member of the Afro Colombian Group GAUV, she has participated as researcher in several projects related to the problems of Afro Colombian women and families. Her research has helped established complex linkages between family, gerontology and intercultural issues; effects of multiple forms of discrimination on Afro descended women in the case of access to public health care in Cali. 

Anthony Phillips is from Philadelphia, PA and received his M.A. degree in Black Religion in the African Diaspora from Yale Divinity School.  In 2010, he graduated as a Benjamin Elijah Mays Scholar with a B.A. in African American Studies and Philosophy from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine.  Anthony is an alumni member of The Institute for Responsible Citizenship and is the proud Co-Founder of Youth Action, a Philadelphia based youth-led service non-profit operated by young African Americans.  Anthony has received a diversity fellowship for 2012-2013 and is on the history and politics track.

Jacinta R. Saffold is from Milwaukee, WI and received her B.A. in African American Studies and Educational Studies from Emory University and is a Mellon-Mays Fellow.  Jacinta is on the literature and culture track. 

 

Huan “Rita” Zhou is from Huanggang, China. She received her B.A. in English from Central China Normal University and worked as an English teacher for two years in a high school in the Sichuan Province.  Rita’s research interests focus on Afro-American women writers. She is on the literature and culture track.

Spencer Kuchle has been granted a 2015-2016 Harry Ransom Center Research Fellowship in the Humanities to conduct dissertation research. He is from Woodstock, CT.  He received his B.A. from Hampshire College in Africana Studies with an emphasis on "performing blackness" and concepts of racial malpractice.  Spencer’s research interests include hip hop and social justice, the Black Arts Movement, and Black feminism.  He has served as a member of a five-year interdisciplinary, inter-institutional research team to engage in participatory action planning around clean water solutions, sustainable agriculture, and entrepreneurship for women in Kenya's rural communities.  Spencer is on the literature and culture track.

Justin McCarthy joined the M.A. program. He is from Lynn, MA and received his B.A. at UMass Amherst in the W.E.B. Du Bois Department of Afro-American Studies. Justin's research interests include the use of Hip-Hop as a social tool as well as the Nation of Islam's impact on African-American youth culture. He is also a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. and is on the literature and culture track.

2011

Julia Bernier is from Manchester, Connecticut.  She received her B.F.A. in Art History from Pratt Institute, and an M.A. in History at City College of New York. Julia is on the history and politics track.

Peter Blackmer is from Marcellus, New York. He receive his B.A. in History and M.S. in Education both from Wagner College. Peter is on the history and politics track.

Rosa Clemente from the Bronx, New York.  She received her B.A. in Africana Studies from Albany State University and her M.A. in African/African American Studies from Cornell University.  She is on the history and politics track. 

Erin Judge is from Middlefield, Massachusetts.  Erin received her B.A. in Ethnic and Gender Studies from Westfield State College. Erin is on the history and politics track.

Trent Masiki is from Shreveport, Louisiana.  He received a B.S. in Computer Science from Southern University, an M.A. in English (American Lit.) from Texas A & M University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing (Prose) from Emerson College in Boston.  Trent is on the literature and culture track.  His dissertation project focuses on African American literary and cultural influences in the works of contemporary U.S. Afro-Latino and Latina writers.  His work examines the ways in which these writers use classic African American cultural tropes and narrative strategies to write themselves into American literary and cultural history, thus expanding the notion of what it means and has meant to be African American in the U.S.  He specifically explores how transcultural affinities, pragmatic nationalism, and panethnic and ethnosomatic affiliation shapes literary production and identity in the memoirs, novels, jeremiads, essays, plays, and poems of select Cuban, Chicano/a, Dominican, Puerto Rican, and Panamanian writers of Afroethnic descent in the U.S. 

Xianzhi Meng is from Linyi, China.  Shirley received her B.A. in English from Weifang University and an M.A. in English from Sun Yat-sent University, and an M.A. in American Studies at Heidelberg University in Germany.  She is on the literature and culture track. 
Robert Williams was born and raised in the Pioneer Valley. He received his B.A. in Education/History from American International College and an M.A. in Medieval History from Saint Andrews University. He is interested in examining the ghettoization and marginalization of African American experiences in American Secondary School U.S. History curricula and is on the history and politics track.
2010
Kelli Morgan was born and raised on the Westside of Detroit. Her interests in African-American history and culture began when she was in high school, but did not fully flourish until she became a student of Wayne State University in 2000, and was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a recipient of the Dudley Randall Endowed Scholarship from the Department of Africana Studies. She graduated cum laude with her B.A. degree in 2006.   Kelli is on the literature and culture track.
Fangfang Zhu is from China. She received her B.A. in English and an M.A. in British and American Literature from Central China Normal University. Barbara is on the literature and culture track and her research interests focus on 20th century Afro-American literature, as well as music and literature.

2009
Alex Michael Carter received his B.A. from Alabama State University and an M.A. from the University of Iowa. His academic interest is the Black Panther Party's international influence on social movements, specifically, with the Dalit Panthers of South Asia. Alex is a native son of Washington, D.C. He is on the history and politics track.
Crystal Donkor received her B.A. from New York University in English and Africana Studies, and her M.Ed. from CUNY Lehman in Middle and High School English Education. Crystal is on the literature and culture track and her research interests include multicultural education and reclaiming African-American women's voices through historical literature. She is from the Bronx, New York.
Johanna Ortner is an international student from Austria who started her undergraduate studies at the University of Vienna in the African Studies and American Studies for two years, before transferring to Rutgers University. She continued her undergraduate studies in African and African American Studies and graduated in May 2009. Johanna is on the history and politics track and her research interest is black women's history.

2008
Flávia Santos de Araújo is from the Northeast of Brazil. Having earned both her B.A. and M.A. in Literature at the Federal University of Paraiba (Brazil), she is interested in developing her doctorate research on the literary representations of Afro-descendant women in the American diaspora, focusing on the production by women writers of African descent in the region. Flavia is on the literature and culture track.
Cynara Robinson is from New Orleans, Louisanna. She received her B.A. in Journalism and an M.A. in History from Howard University. Her research interests include looking at social movements of the 1960s and 1970s, inclusive of interests in the urban rebellions and those occurring on black college campuses. Cynara is on the history and politics track.

2007
Markeysha Davis is from Detroit, Michigan. Her research interests include urban poetry (modernist), black social and political thought, Pan-Africanist intellectual thought and literary movements, among others. Markeysha's dissertation is centered on the poetry of the Black Arts Movement and the concept of nation building through art and performance. She was the 2011 recipient of a Du Bois Library Fellowship. See In the Loop story. She is on the literature and culture track

2006
DeRoy Gordon received his B.A. in Political Science from Long Island University and an M.A. in Public Administration/Management from John Jay College of Criminal Justice in N.Y. His research interests are African American politics focusing on 19th Century African American political theory. DeRoy is on the history and politics track.

2005

2003
Angelique Warner received her B.A. and M.A. in English from Kent State University, and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing from New Mexico State University. Angie is on the literature and culture track and the title of her dissertation is “Negotiating the Law: Black Women Writing Out The Abject.”
2001
Cristina Tondeur is from Chapel Hill, NC. She received her MA from Indiana University at Bloomington and is currently finishing her dissertation entitled, “We Are Tired of Your Games: A History of the Civil Rights Movement in Evansville, Indiana.” In addition to her dissertation research, Cristy also utilizes critical race theory in her other research, presentations, and community activism. She is presently on the faculty of American Public University. She is on the history and politics track.