Alumni

Our alumni come from various backgrounds and have gone on to become lawyers, NGO founders, activists, and more! Select a picture to see the caliber or student that chooses an African Studies Certificate!
 

 
 

 

 
 

Alyssa Patrice Lyon

Graduation Year:

2012

 

What was your academic program?

Dual Degrees in Africana Studies and Communications, and certificates in African Studies and Leadership.

 

What is your current occupation?

With hopes of becoming an Urban/Regional planner, I currently work as a paid intern in the Community Development & Outreach office at the Urban Redevelopment Authority.  My job entails working closely with predominately urban neighborhoods, such as the Hill District & Larimer, through community engagement projects, assisting in their social media presence and community planning.  

I’m also an Assistant Educator for the 4-H Urban Youth Development Program facilitated through Penn State’s Extension office here in Pittsburgh.  Our current focus is the African American Men & Boys initiative that targets youth ages 14-19.  Our program is based on the concepts of leadership, civic pride & engagement, and individual progress. 

 

Where did you grow up? Where do you currently reside?

I grew up in the Bronx, New York & I currently live in Pittsburgh in the borough of Crafton. 

 

How has your University of Pittsburgh Education helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

The University of Pittsburgh has not only offered me an education, it offered me a way a life.  Being a Pitt Panther brings upon a large sense of pride that I carry with me everywhere I go.  So in choosing to gain my education from this institution, I’ve excelled at networking & taking advantage of resources, I made a habit of fundamental soft skills that are necessary day to day & I learned how to exist in the “real world” which is of utmost importance to me & is the ultimate goal of LEARNING. 

 

How has the African Studies Certificate helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

Tremendously. People are often impressed when told that I spent 5 weeks in Tanzania learning to speak Kiswahili as a part of a study abroad program.  Those same people now look at you in a different light, as if they’ve realized that they stumbled across a rather well-rounded human being. Being offered the opportunity to explore the world allowed me to add “Global Citizen” to my résumé & automatically separated me from the rest.

 

Awards, honors, accolades, and memberships:

1st Place, University of Pittsburgh Oratory Competition, 2012; African American Alumni Association Member (AAAC); 2012 African American Alumni Association Membership Recipient; University of Pittsburgh Alumni Association Member; 2012, Honors Convocation Honoree

 

Fun Fact:

I co-host a radio show with entitled Off the Record! It airs on Tuesdays at 8 PM, stream it live on WRCT.org or 88.3 FM.

 

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Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi

Graduation Year:

2011

 

What was your academic program?

Doctor in Juridical Science, (SJD) PhD, Law

 

What is your current occupation?

Research Fellow and Head of Department Public Law, Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies, Abuja-Nigeria

 

Where do you currently reside?

I reside in Abuja, Nigeria.

 

How has your University of Pittsburgh Education helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

It equipped me with the necessary tools to raise above my peers and shine.

 

How has the African Studies Certificate helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

It has given me some diversification in my field and also broadened my knowledge in specific African issues.

 

Awards, honors, accolades, and memberships:

Award recipient of the Crouch Kielsgard Scholarship of International Human Rights. Third prize winner, Siefried Wiessner Essay Award. Associate Member Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, United Kingdom. Member, Nigeria Bar Association. Member, Association of Women in Development

 

Please provide a fun fact about yourself!

I am a scrabble addict!

 

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G M Boko

Graduation Year:

2010

What was your academic program?

Administration / Policy Research and Analysis

 

What is your current occupation?

Social Protection Specialist at the World Bank Group - Country Office of Cotonou (Republic of Benin)

 

Where did you grow up? Where do you currently reside?

I grew up in Benin and currently reside here.

How has your University of Pittsburgh Education helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

The University of Pittsburgh education really changed my career path. I always wanted to work in an organization that can be both active at development policy design as well as at operational level; an organization that is both active in operations (development projects) and research. My education at Pitt gave me the right skills and the level of qualification I needed to be good fit at the World Bank. Without my Pitt experience I am not sure I would end up in an organization like te World Bank group. I am very happy with my current job. It is the perfect job!

How has the African Studies Certificate helped you reach your professional and personal goals?
As part of my education at Pitt, the African Study Certificate programme contributed to achieving what I just described above.

Awards, honors, accolades, and memberships:

I've been awarded twice the Sergeant Rip Taylor Spirit of Public service Award and was induced in the Pi Alpha Alpha Honor Society.
 

Please provide a fun fact about yourself!
This is a difficult question. I think I am shy but everybody else around me think I am not. Is that funny?

 

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Jenna Baron

Graduation Year:

2013

 

What was your academic program?

Cultural Anthropology, African Studies and Global Studies Certificates

 

What is your current occupation?

I am a Fulbright Research Scholar in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

Where did you grow up? Where do you currently reside?

I grew up in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. I currently reside in Nairobi, Kenya.

 

How has your University of Pittsburgh Education helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

My classes and professors from the University of Pittsburgh broadened my understanding of the world and inspired me to pursue a career that would allow me to make a meaningful and positive impact in my community. As a member of the community of Pitt students, I was able to connect with people who had similar interests and aspirations whom helped lead me in the right direction. My most valuable experiences at Pitt were outside the classroom as a tutor for the local Somali-Bantu community and co-founder of PRYSE Academy; my work in these roles is the reason behind my current plan to return home and continue advocating for international youth in US schools. 

 

How has the African Studies Certificate helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

My professors from the African Studies department, Dr. Leonora Kivuva and Dr. Macrina Lelei, were my mentors throughout my undergraduate experience. Dr. Kivuva taught me Swahili, guided me in applying for scholarships to fund study abroad, organized my trip to Kenya, and introduced me to Kenyan professionals who shared research interests similar to my own. The knowledge I acquired from my African Studies classes as well as the connections I made with experienced African Studies scholars set the stage for me to apply for a Fulbright Research Scholarship. 

 

Awards, honors, accolades, and memberships:

African Heritage Room Scholarship, Nationality Room Scholarship - 2012

Fulbright Research Scholar, Kenya - 2013/14

Founder of Pittsburgh Refugee Youth Summer Enrichment (PRYSE) Academy - 2013

 

Please provide a fun fact about yourself!

I love Motown.

 

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Rachael Long

Graduation Year:

2011

 

What was your academic program?

I received my Masters in International Development from the GSPIA program with a major in NGOs and Civil Society and a minor in Human Security, along with the African Studies Graduate Certificate

 

What is your current occupation?

I work as a Development Manager for a social service agency in Washington, DC. We provide housing and homeless services as well as preventative programs for families and individuals in need in the region. 

 

Where did you grow up? Where do you currently reside?

I grew up in Louisville, KY and lived in Brisbane, Australia, and Nakuru, Kenya before moving to Pittsburgh, PA for my graduate studies. I currently reside in Washington, D.C.

 

How has your University of Pittsburgh Education helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

Upon moving to D.C., I worked in the International Development sector, for a brief time before moving to a community-focused organization. However, many of the skills and theory courses helped build a framework and understanding that I utilize within my current position. I also find it important to continue my personal education on areas of interest to me and stay relevant through side projects within these areas, specifically, microfinance, food security, and post-conflict development. 

 

How has the African Studies Certificate helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

With a strong regional focus throughout my graduate studies, it only seemed fitting to attain an African Studies Certificate. While I am not currently in a professional setting with a regional focus of Africa, I still maintain my focal interests and believe that this certificate will come in handy in the future when I decide to enter back into the international development realm. One hope would be to go back into field work, particularly in East Africa. 

Awards, honors, accolades, and memberships:

I am a member of Young Professionals for Foreign Policy. I was also a part of the African Research Symposium at University of Pittsburgh in Spring of 2011, presenting my research on food security in Africa in relation to state power. 

 

Please provide a fun fact about yourself!

As a advocate for a small NGO where I spent my summer internship, Bright Kids Uganda, I continue fundraising efforts for the organization through the sale of locally made handicrafts. I also continue to meet with a small group from my Swahili language course I took in Spring 2013 where we practice our Swahili and swap African travel stories about once a month. 

 

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Rachel Murray

Graduation Year:

May 2011

 

What was your academic program?

Neuroscience Major, Chemistry Minor, and certificates in African Studies, Conceptual Foundations of Medicine, and Global Health

 

What is your current occupation?

Master of Public Health Student at the University of Arizona

 

Where did you grow up? Where do you currently reside?

I grew up in Latrobe, about an hour southeast of Pittsburgh and I am currently residing in sunny Tucson, AZ.

 

How has your University of Pittsburgh Education helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

During my time at Pitt, I learned the importance of making long-lasting relationships.  I still communicate with some of my undergraduate professors, and they continue to give me guidance.  I also learned to set my expectations high and to never quit learning.

 

How has the African Studies Certificate helped you reach your professional and personal goals?

After college, I left for the Peace Corps and served as math and science teacher in Sierra Leone.  My African Studies professors taught me how to be culturally sensitive, which helped to enhance my experience in West Africa.

 

Awards, honors, accolades, and memberships:

As an undergrad, I participated in the “Pitt in Tanzania” program and was fortunate to earn the “African Heritage Classroom Nationality Room Award.”  I was secretary for the Lambda Sigma Honors Society.  Currently, I am a Paul D. Coverdell Fellow at the U of A and am a member of the Southern Arizona Returned Peace Corps Volunteers Group, the Desert Doves.

 

Please provide a fun fact about yourself!

I am fluent in Krio, the most common language spoken in Sierra Leone.  A gladi fu tok am!

 

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