Spring 2019 Student Spotlight: Senior, Sociology Major, Mercedes Hanks

1) How did you learn about the minor?

I first heard about the AAAD minor as a freshman enrolled in the Introduction To Africana Studies with Dr. King while simultaneously being enrolled in the History of Africa course with Dr. Owusu-Ansah.

2) What was your favorite course(s) that you’ve taken so far within the AAAD minor?

One of my favorite courses I’ve taken within my major sociology that overlaps with AAAD is SOCI 368: Contemporary American Culture. This course was centered around the constructions of race, white supremacy and other social barrier that mold society.

3) What is AAAD to you? How has it shaped your personal and/or academic experiences at James Madison University?

AAAD means the world to me because it opened up my sociological lens even more. Being a AAAD minor has been an honor because it has taught me an abundance of material that was erased from primary education. I now understand my placement in society through a historical and biographical lens. I understand the systems of power, privilege and oppression put into place to hinder persons of color. Persons of the African Diaspora tend to face harsh discrimination globally. Within the United States our people are alienated through poverty, housing, education through the school to prison pipeline and affirmative action, the workplace, media, etc. AAAD has definitely shaped the relationships I have with people on campus as well as what organizations I support. I have met so many students and faculty who have a sound stance on social injustices against people of color who aim to aid assistance to finding a solution. This minor has helped me to understand the university policies and structures better.

4) How will you integrate this minor in your academic/career goals in the future?

I plan on integrating the AAAD minor into my career by continually supporting the issues of people of the African Diaspora through my work within the system of education or writings about education within the African American community.

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Fall 2018 Student Spotlight: Senior, International Affairs Major, Colin Alexander

1) How did you learn about the minor?

I learned about the minor through taking a Swahili course (SWA 101) my freshman year with Dr. Muhonja.

2) What was your favorite course(s) that you’ve taken so far within the AAAD minor?

My favorite course so far has been: Swahili (SWA 101) and Africa and Technology (AFST 400)

3) What is AAAD to you? How has it shaped your personal and/or academic experiences at James Madison University?

In my opinion, it is one of the best minors here at JMU, it has definitely changed the way I see the world. It works very well into my International Affairs major because it allows a new viewpoint because so much of my courses are Eurocentric.

4) How will you integrate this minor in your academic/career goals in the future?

Well, I do plan on working in Africa sometime after graduation, so this minor has assisted me in connecting with that part of the world.

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