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Our Interns

My name is TaLisha Hairston. I am a Junior Psychology Major, AAAD minor. I am also one of the AAAD interns. My hometown is Williamsburg, VA. And I am also a first generation college student, so what I am looking forward to is to continue to make the most out of every positive and challenging moment that presents itself to me here.


My name is Qyaira (Key-AIR-Uh) Colbert and I was born and raised in Lynchburg, VA. Although I am from Lynchburg, I permanently live about 30 minutes away from Longwood University in Farmville, VA. I am a fourth-year Sociology Major with a minor in African, African American, and Diaspora Studies. I am one of the AAAD interns and I am also the president of a new organization at JMU named Creative Passions Coalition. While being an intern for the AAAD minor and president of Creative Passions Coalition, I am also a Resident Advisor for JMU. After I graduate, I plan on working with children in urban areas


My name is Spencer Law, and I am a senior Media Arts & Design and History double major with minors in Honors and African, African American, and Diaspora Studies. My research focuses on local history in Harrisonburg, racial integration in Virginia schools, and queer activism. Outside of AAAD, Spencer works for the department of Career & Academic Planning as a graphic designer. I also work as a research assistant for the Celebrating Simms project. In the future, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in history. My goal is to use my background in interaction design and public history to make the stories of minority groups more accessible to the public. I spend my free time reading poetry, playing guitar, and listening to public radio.


My name is Kofi Karikari and as an AAAD intern, I have been given the opportunity to develop my skills as a designer, by creating promotional materials for the AAAD program. I believe what I create will further grow the AAAD community.


My name is Lillie Jacob, and I’m a Senior English Major with minors in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), African, African American, and Diaspora Studies (AAAD), History, and Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. I serve as Research Assistant to Dr. Besi Brillian Muhonja, where I work on scholarship that relates to both WGSS and AAAD. My research interests include contemporary queer and Black literature, and how those two fields increasingly intersect with each other and themes of disidentification and temporality. Outside of being a research assistant, I intern with JMU Special Collections and am a teaching assistant for Black Studies, Black Spaces, as well as Hacking for Diplomacy. After graduation, I plan to pursue a graduate degree in either English or Cultural Studies, and go on to teach at the university level.

AAAD Internships & Research Internships

AAAD401: Internship in African, African American and Diaspora Studies provides students with opportunities to apply knowledge learned in the classroom to professional and community-based settings. It provides valuable experience and prepares students for working independently in the field.

The AAAD minor also offers several internal internship opportunities every year. AAAD Minor Interns, typically serving for a full academic year, support the AAAD coordinators and AAAD faculty by contributing to campus and local events, academic programming, visiting scholars, and the annual AAAD conference, and maintaining a social media presence for the minor. AAAD Media Interns, also serving for a full academic year, support the minor and minor programming by designing promotional materials for events and social media. Please contact the AAAD Minor Coordinators if you are interested in learning more or applying.

AAAD faculty also occasionally offer Research Internships, which are designed to involve AAAD minors in the research life of the AAAD program. By enrolling in AAAD 401, research interns earn academic credit for their work supporting an AAAD faculty member’s research, teaching, or service project. In the process, research interns will deepen their knowledge and skills in their area of interest, while experiencing what it means to be part of an intellectual community engaged in research and professional development, and gaining a competitive edge on future job, fellowship, or graduate school applications. Available research internships will be announced to minors. Students are also welcome to reach out to faculty to inquire about possible research projects and internships. 

For more information . . .

For more information about AAAD internship opportunities, please contact the AAAD Coordinators Besi Muhonja and Mollie Godfrey, or the AAAD Internship Coordinator Case Watkins.

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