Recent Alumni

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (2008)

Chimamanda is an acclaimed Nigerian novelist and author of the novels Purple Hibiscus and Half of a Yellow Sun (winner of the Orange Prize for Fiction), set during the 1967 Biafran war of independence, and a collection of short stories, The Thing Around Your Neck, published in 2009.


Omolade Adunbi Omolade Adunbi (2004)

Omolade Adunbi is an Assistant Professor in the College of Literature, Science and the Arts and AfroAmerican and African Studies at The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He obtained his MA in African Studies and PhD in Anthropology from Yale University. His current work focuses on Nigeria and is situated in the oil-rich communities of the Niger Delta region. He examines the connection between oil wealth and power on the one hand, and transnational capital and civil society organizations and their collaborations with NGOs and members of the local communities on the other.

David Bargueño David Bargueño (2011)

David Bargueño is a U.S. diplomat, currently serving in the Consulate General of São Paulo, Brazil.  From 2012 until 2014, he worked in the Secretary’s Office of Global Food Security.  David earned a Master’s degree from the Council on African Studies at Yale and a Bachelor’s degree from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton.  Link to David’s website.

Sarah Beckham Sarah Beckham (2009)

Since graduation in 2009, Sarah has been pursuing a PhD in International Health at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In conjunction with her studies, she spent most of 2010 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, assisting in research on the consequences of unwanted pregnancy. She is currently planning her dissertation research on the reproductive health of sex workers as part of a larger study on prevention of HIV/AIDS in Iringa, Tanzania. Sarah hopes to become a professor of public health and continue to research in Africa.

Alexander Bowles Alexander Bowles (2012)

Alexander Bowles did his undergraduate studies at the University of Oxford, leaving in 2009 with a BA in Modern History and Politics. After completing his degree, Alex spent some months travelling overland from Dakar to Lagos. As part of this trip he worked in northern Nigeria with the international NGO Save the Children. They collaborated with local health ministries in Katsina state to establish a community-based programme to treat acute malnutrition in children. This proved to be a great opportunity to learn about how politics at the local and national level influences health work and policy, and to see how the process of establishing health projects works on the ground. At Yale Alex hopes to explore how political structures influence responses to challenges in public health in Africa. He is particularly interested in how NGOs fit into this structure. He hopes that the multi-disciplinary nature of the Yale African Studies MA will help him discover new tools to expand his understanding of his field of study. Alex is looking forward to the opportunity to expand his linguistic horizons at Yale, having realized that ‘European’ languages only get you so far in Africa.

Zachary Enumah Zachary Enumah (2012)

Zachary Enumah was raised in Columbus, GA, and attended Yale University, where he graduated with a B.A. in African Studies (2011). Always interested in healthcare and medicine, he continues to focus on African Studies in an effort to learn more about the political, economic, and social factors that influence healthcare delivery and medical care. His senior thesis focused on multiple modes of healing (herbal, spiritual, biomedical) in Mombasa, Kenya, along with perceptions and representations of waganga (“traditional healer” in Kiswahili). He is currently focusing on healthcare among refugee populations in western Tanzania, including perceptions of healthcare and combinations of healing modes. In his free time, he enjoys soccer, film, poetry, and languages.

Carol Gallo Carol Gallo (2009)

Carol Jean Gallo received her MA in African Studies from Yale in 2009 and began a PhD program in Politics and International Studies a t the University of Cambridge in 2011.  Her research focuses on peace and security in Africa, in particular disarmament, demobilization and reintegration (DDR) of ex-combatants in peacekeeping settings.  She has done in-depth research on Mozambique, Sudan, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Somalia.  She is driven to focus on local context and incorporate anthropological sources in order to understand how post-conflict reconstruction may be pursued more effectively. Carol has a BFA in Film and has held positions at Amnesty International USA, the International Center for Transitional Justice, and the Yale Council on African Studies.  She earned her MS in Global Affairs from NYU in 2006 where she specialized in human rights, humanitarian assistance, and issues related to displacement.  In 2009 she worked as a consultant in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations where she advised on DDR in Darfur. Her chapter “Researching Genocide in Africa: Establishing Historical and Ethnological Context” will be published in August 2011 in the book New Directions in Genocide Research, ed. Adam Jones.  She keeps a blog at and can be contacted at

Nyasha Karimakwenda Nyasha Karimakwenda (2012)

Nyasha Karimakwenda graduated from Wellesley College in 2003 with a BA in Peace and Justice Studies and in Africana Studies. She then obtained a law degree in 2006 from Northeastern University where she focused on international human rights law. Born and raised in Zimbabwe to a Zimbabwean father and Grenadian mother, Nyasha grew up with an international perspective and from an early age developed an interest in human rights and women’s rights. In college, Nyasha interned at the African Services Committee in Harlem, NY, and also travelled to Zimbabwe, Paris and Haiti as part of her studies. In law school she gained practical experience in asylum and refugee law while interning at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Washington, DC and the Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic at Greater Boston Legal Services in Boston. She also did women’s rights work by participating in the Domestic Violence Clinic at her law school and doing an internship at the Women’s Legal Centre in Cape Town, South Africa.

Following law school Nyasha worked at the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center as an immigration attorney and then the Boston College Immigration and Asylum Project where she helped to teach and supervise law students enrolled in the immigration clinic. During her practice as an attorney, Nyasha mainly represented people in deportation proceedings who were seeking asylum,  Convention Against Torture protection, and other forms of relief. Many of her clients were victims of torture and abuse in their home countries. Nyasha was deeply impacted by her work with women from countries such as Zimbabwe, Kenya, Uganda, Sierra Leone, and Colombia who had experienced horrific forms of violence. Inspired by the strength of her clients and driven by her passion for asking questions and researching, Nyasha realized that she wanted to study the history of violence against women, particularly in Africa. At Yale, Nyasha will take various History and Anthropology courses to gain a strong foundation in African history focusing on conflict, genocide and gender issues. She seeks to explore the cause of the radicalization of violence against women in juxtaposition with the increased recognition of women’s rights in the international arena. She is interested in Francophone Africa, Southern Africa and Haiti. After obtaining her Master’s degree Nyasha plans to pursue a PhD in African History to explore the history of women in conflict.

Matthew Kustenbauder Matthew Kustenbauder (2008)

Matthew Kustenbauder (’08) is currently a Ph.D. student in history at Harvard. He received his M.Div. from Yale in 2006 and his B.A. in Psychology and Biblical Studies from Messiah College in 1998. During his undergraduate education, Matthew studied abroad at  Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya. While at the Divinity School, a Lindsay Fellowship for Research in Africa enabled him to conduct oral history research on African initiated churches in rural western Kenya. During his M.A. in African Studies, Matthew received a generous Fox International Fellowship to conduct archival research on the religious and legal history of early twentieth-century Natal while based at the University of Cape Town, South Africa.

A recipient of FLAS and Fulbright-Hays fellowships, Matthew has studied Swahili and Zulu at Yale, Ohio University, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He has lived and traveled in several African countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zanzibar, South Africa, Namibia, Swaziland, and Mozambique.

Matthew is the author of articles and book chapters on topics that include: The Legio Maria Church and it’s founders in Kenya; Alice Lakwena’s Holy Spirit Movement and the Lord’s Resistance Army in Uganda; the politicization of religious identity in Sudan and the American diaspora’s role in forming South Sudan; and prophetic movements in Africa.

 His current research focuses on late 19th and 20th century South Africa and the British Empire. His dissertation, “South African Cosmopolitans in a British Imperial World, 1850-1950,” examines the hybridized space that empire forged in South Africa. It chronicles the lives of four intermediary figures - John Dube, Mohandas Gandhi, Isaiah Shembe, and Killie Campbell. These cosmopolitan men and women deftly navigated between different cultural worlds intertwined by empire. Their story is one of cross-cultural and transnational connections, in which South Africans of Indian, African, and European heritage were linked through imperial networks to one another and to allies in such faraway places as Delhi, London, and New York. Matthew may be reached at:

Noma Ndlovu Noma Ndlovu (2009)

Noma Ndlovu received her MA from the African Studies program in 2009. While at Yale, Noma concentrated on the politics and history of Southern Africa, studied Zulu and traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright-Hays Group Project Abroad. After graduation, Noma briefly worked with Ubuntu Education Fund in New York City to fundraise and expand college outreach programs. Following her time with Ubuntu, she shifted her focus to democracy and governance work. Currently, Noma works to support the Horn of Africa programs at the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs. 

Kimberley (nee Roosenburg) Landrigan Kimberley (nee Roosenburg) Landrigan (2009)

Life after graduation from Yale African Studies has been non-stop activity!

I was lucky enough to have immediate employment, returning full-time to the Center for Biodiversity and Conservation (CBC) at the American Museum of Natural History in New York, where I had worked prior to Yale and maintained a part-time (off-site) position throughout my studies.  In fact, I have worked at various levels for the CBC’s global capacity-building initiative, the Network of  Conservation Educators and Practitioners or NCEP (, since 2004.  NCEP seeks to improve the practice of biodiversity conservation by improving training in biodiversity conservation, targeting university educators and conservation professionals worldwide with open educational resources and various training opportunities.  In July 2010, I was promoted to “NCEP Assistant Director and Coordinator for Africa”, giving me primary responsibility for overseeing our activities in Africa (to my delight)!  These activities are currently concentrated in Madagascar therefore I have had to put aside my Swahili to brush up on my French (though we are actively looking for funding opportunities to expand our activities into East Africa).  My new position also allows me a role in our other activities worldwide and this Spring I may also be traveling to Mongolia, where we partner with the Wildlife Conservation Society and the National University of Mongolia. The CBC has been the most wonderful place to work, full of opportunity and amazing role models, and I am incredibly grateful to have landed here.

My personal life has also been non-stop – non-stop weddings that is, having attended an incredible 8 weddings in 2010 including my own.

Oluwadamilola Oladeru Oluwadamilola Oladeru (2012)

Oluwadamilola Oladeru graduated from Yale University in 2011 with a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology and a B.A. in African Studies. She was born in Nigeria and migrated to the United States at the age of ten. The study of Africa through an understanding of cultures, languages and history was the core of her undergraduate experience. As an African Studies major, she explored courses across multiple disciplines including literature, anthropology and public health. While learning how the human body works and conducting independent malaria research at Yale Medical School, she mastered reading, speaking and writing fiction works in the Yoruba language. Her senior thesis focused on experiences of immigrant health professionals in the United States, its effects on “brain drain” in Nigeria, and opportunities for “brain circulation.” As a graduate student, she is taking courses that will deepen her knowledge on health disparities and how they affect patient choices and health outcomes in Africa. She is currently evaluating a commun ity health program in Nigeria geared towards the reduction of maternal and child mortality. She hopes the better understanding of Africa and multidimensional perspectives of health care will prepare her as a future leader in medicine and Africa.

Laura Seay Laura Seay (2002)

Laura Seay is an assistant professor of political science at Morehouse College. Her research addresses community responses to state fragility in central and eastern Africa. She has conducted extensive fieldwork in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and is writing a book on the differences in the ways that civil society organizations respond to the state’s absence in social service provision. At Morehouse, she teaches comparative politics, African politics, conflict, and international organizations. She earned a PhD in Government from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in African Studies from Yale University, and a B.A. in International Studies cum laude from Baylor University. In her spare time, she blogs about African politics at Texas in Africa and is a contributor to the Christian Science Monitor’s Africa Monitor blog. She also occasionally serves as an expert witness in asylum cases involving applicants from the eastern DRC.  She is happy to connect with others who research or are interested in learning more about the Congo or state failure. 

Rachel Silver Rachel Silver (2009)

Ms. Silver received her MA in the African Studies program in 2009. She has worked with Somali refugee communities in Maine, USA and Dadaab, Kenya since 2003. She co-authored Educated for Change?: Muslim Refugee Women in the West and co-edited “They Were Very Beautiful. Such Things Are.” with Bates College Professor of Education Patricia Buck. She is cofounder, along with Patti Buck and Ismail Ahmed, of Matawi, a nongovernmental organization that supports education, civic engagement, and leadership in the global refugee community. Ms. Silver currently directs Matawi’s Dadaab Young Women’s Scholarship Initiative and works as Development and Donor Relations Manager for the Kenya Education Fund. She hopes to begin a PhD program in Comparative International Education in the Fall of 2011.

African Studies MA Alumni: We would love to hear from you! If you would like to add a profile to our new alumni page please send a current photo, and a summary of what you’re currently up to, to

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