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African and African-American Studies

Class of  2008

The 23 members of the Class of 2008, graduating with a minor in African/African-American Studies, will leave an indelible mark on the program. Their interests and talents are diverse, but their curiosity about, advocacy and passion for Black life and culture will continue long after they have left Elon.

Erica Ayala is from New York and will earn a degree in Political Science.  She has served as the Elon University chapter president of Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc. She uses the courses in her minor to help her learn more about her family's Afro-Hispanic past. These courses have allowed her to study the politics, dances, peoples, and environments of the continent. In January of 2008, she fulfilled her lifelong dream of visiting the Motherland when she studied abroad in South Africa. She plans to become a child advocate.

Merissa Baxter is from North Carolina and will earn her degree in Biology. She has an additional minor in Business. Merissa plans to work with the Environmental Protection Agency and pursue a master's degree in either Public Health or Environmental Health. Her work in AAAS has exposed her to African-American classics and history.

Douglas Boateng  from Accra, Ghana, will graduate with a degree in International Studies. Doug hopes to work for a major international firm in the supply chain/trading industry. His favorite courses have been in black history, especially the ones that feed both his mind and body. He says, ”I ate one of the most amazing international foods in an A/AA class.”

Tawina Clarke will earn a degree in international Studies. She has an additional minor in Biology. She transferred to Elon University from Xavier University after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans. In addition to completing courses in African/African-American literature and history, she is also interested in Caribbean politics and culture since her family hails from Guyana.

Phillip Collins will graduate with a degree in Business/Marketing. He hails from Kingsport, Tennessee and will use the knowledge he gains from his courses in the program to help him develop intelligent, responsible, and creative strategies to market to minority demographics.

Justine Davis will earn a degree in International Studies. She has studied abroad in Ghana and Senegal. While taking classes at the University of Ghana; she also interned at the Center for Democratic Development. She hails from Winston-Salem, NC.

Marlaena DeHaven hails from Centreville, Virginia, and will earn a degree in International Studies. She has taken courses in African Art, the History of Jazz, and the Geography of Africa.

Dionne Eleby will earn a degree in Musical Theatre. She has an additional minor in  Business Administration. As an actress and entertainer, Dionne has performed in several Elon University dramatic productions, including Blues for an Alabama Sky. Miss Eleby uses her study of the history, culture, literature, geography, film, and dance of Black peoples to help her develop her craft and to create realistic and accurate portrayals of Black characters on the dramatic stage. She hails from Atlanta, Georgia and will be working in Charlotte, NC at the Central Peidmont Community College Summer Theatre, playing Brenda in Smokey Joe's Cafe, Irene in Crazy for You, Aladdin's mother in the children's show, and in the ensemble of Annie Get your Gun.

Lauren Eleuteri will receive a degree in history. She has an additional minor in Secondary Social Sciences Licensure. In addition to the history courses she has taken on modern Africa and African-American History, she has also taken courses on education in West Africa, slavery in British North America, and African-American literature.

Nina Foucheux will earn a degree in Human Services. She hopes to become a social worker for at-risk youth out west, preferably in Colorado. She spent a semester studying abroad in Ghana. She writes, “It was the most rewarding experience of my life.” She hails from Silver Spring, Maryland.

Sherita Hamilton will earn a degree in psychology. She is pursuing a career in Human Resources and will use her courses in AAAS to promote diversity within the workplace.

Sandra Kpodo will earn a degree in Biology. Her courses have allowed her to explore African-American and Caribbean literatures, education in West Africa and the history of modern Africa. She hails from Fairfax, Virginia and plans to attend medical school after a year off.

Rebecca Kuhn took an African-American literature course that, in her words, "transformed her life and way of thinking." She will earn a degree in History. In addition to studying the history of the Civil Rights Movement and the devastation of HIV/AIDS on families, she has also explored the effects of genocide and slavery.

Caitlin Mackeown will earn her degree in Political Science. She hails from Middle Haddam, Connecticut. She plans to attend graduate school to major in International Studies/Political Economy with a focus on Africa, and perhaps serve in the Peace Corps.

Amachiyana Payton  will earn degrees in History and Psychology. She hails from Washington, DC and credits her early Afrocentric educational upbringing to her continued love and interest in the lives and cultures of Black peoples. She has traveled to Ghana and studied abroad in South Africa, and credits the latter as “one of the most inspirational and educational experiences” of her life. Also a lover and practitioner of African Dance, Amachiyana plans to attend law school and become an Educational Advocate and work to bridge the educational gap between other racial groups and African American students

Thomas Pillsbury will earn a degree in Sociology. He has taken courses related to African Art, Ethics and Race, Race and American Politics and the Harlem Renaissance.

Janice Sackey is from Gaithersburg, Maryland.  In addition to the wide range of courses she has taken in the study of Black arts, she has been an active member of the Elon family. Janice has been accepted to Emory University to pursue her dream of becoming a Nurse Practitioner. She has served as President of the Elon University chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. She writes, “It has been an enriching and rewarding experience to learn with greater depth the history, struggle, and beauty of the African/African-American experience . . . .  I have truly enjoyed all that I have learned.” She will earn a degree in Biology.

Lauren Schuster  will earn her degree in Art. She supplements her love of Black art with the study of African-American literature and African politics. She has studied abroad in Ghana. She hails from the  US Virgin Islands.

Samantha Sledd will receive a degree in Political Science. In addition to studying the impact of race on America's political landscape, she has also explored the politics of Africa and studied abroad in Ghana, which she credits for pushing her to pursue work in the non-profit field. She has applied to law school to pursue international and human rights law. Miss Sledd hails from Virginia.

Samantha R. Smith will receive a Business/marketing degree. Her diverse exploration into the experiences of Blacks has allowed her to take courses on African film, education in West Africa, African history, and nineteenth century African-American literature.

Ashley Titolo will receive a degree in International Studies. She has interned with The Constituency for Africa in Washington, DC where she undertook a large research project on China's engagement with Africa. In addition to studying abroad in Paris to help her develop the French-speaking skills she sees as "imperative to her African studies", she hopes to study abroad in Ghana in January 2008.

Muyinat Taiwo hails from Norcross, Georgia, but her family is originally from Nigeria. She will earn her degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. Muyinat hopes to begin a career in either marketing research, advertising, or university administration. Whichever path she chooses, Muyinat says, “I fully intend on using the knowledge that I have gained from both my areas of study to better serve the needs of the African-American market.”

Krysten Trull hails from Bridgeton, NJ. Krysten says, “I chose to be an African/African American Studies minor because I am very interested in the culture of Africa and the history of the people. I took an African-American history class in my senior year of high school, and my teacher's pride and extreme knowledge in the subject helped fuel my interests and made me want to study further. I loved taking the AAAS classes, especially the literature and history classes. The works and ideas of African American men and women throughout history offer insight into the problems and concerns of modern-day society. I enjoyed all of my AAAS classes and hope to take many more in the future.” Krysten will earn a degree in Sociology. She hopes to work with people of different cultures after college in a business or performing social work.