University of Rochester
Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African American Studies

AAS Graduates, 2012

FDI 2012 Graduates

Vicky Baudin

Double Major: African & African-American Studies and Public Health: Health, Behavior & Society.
Diploma Presented by Professor Cilas Kemedjio, FDI Director

As an African & African American Studies major I have been able to learn more about my own culture and its rich history. It also provided me with a unique perspective to examine health challenges faced by black communities in my other public health courses. During my four years at the University of Rochester, I was a member of the Meridian Society, Writing Fellow and Resident Assistant. These activities helped me in developing my leadership abilities. My interests in community engagement and research in health disparities among African American communities influenced my goal to pursue graduate education. This upcoming fall, I will be attending Boston University: School of Public Health to pursue a MPH with a concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Cathyerine Cebul

 Double Major: African & African American Studies and Spanish.
Diploma Presented by Professor Cilas Kemedjio, FDI Director

I started my freshman year at University of Rochester planning to major in Biology.  I took advantage of the flexible curriculum and registered for a class called "History of Race in America," a topic that seemed interesting and unlike anything I had studied/had the opportunity to study before.  After that one class I was hooked and continued to pursue African and African American Studies classes until I gave up on the Biology major altogether.  I am very grateful for the opportunities I have had through the Frederick Douglass Institute and the wealth of knowledge I have gained from my professors and peers.  This summer I will be moving to Milwaukee, WI where I will be teaching as part of the Milwaukee Teaching Fellows program.  I will use my knowledge and experiences acquired from my African and African American Studies courses to help students realize their potential and decrease the achievement gap in high need Urban schools.

Tsion Girum

Double Major: African & African American Studies and Economics.
Diploma Presented by Professor Cilas Kemedjio, FDI Director

I came to the University of Rochester knowing that I wanted to major in Economics but it wasn't until spring of my sophomore year that I became intrigued with the African American studies field. I had always been interested in history but most of my history classes in high school were focused more on American history. Majoring in this discipline broadened my perspective on many things and truly shaped my experience these past four years. Although I will be pursuing a job in the financial industry after graduation, my African American Studies courses have provided me with critical thinking skills that I am sure will be applicable for the rest of my life. 

AAS Minors

Melika Butcher

Major: English

Minors: African & African-American Studies and Music

 Taking on African & African-American Studies as a second minor was one of the most gratifying and necessary experiences I have had here at the University of Rochester. The courses I have taken in this area of study have truly helped me navigate my way through this prestigious institution as a woman of color, and it has enlightened me on the many facets of the black experience. These courses have challenged my own perceptions, forcing me to step out of the confines of my ideologies, and see things from different lenses. I believe that everything I have learned as an African & African-American Studies minor will aid me as I embark on my journey teaching English through the Teach for America program and when I attend law school.

Erin Gamoran

Major: English
Minors: African & African-American Studies

Lecora Massanba

Major: Psychology
Minors: African & African-American Studies and Gender Women & Studies

My family's strong African and African American pride led me down a path toward discovery of my own history when I was just old enough to read; I began reading at age three. Nothing quenched my thirst for knowledge like a good book about African-American history. Before college, the idea of African and African-American History was a fleeting one as teachers always addressed these topics very briefly. I entered the University of Rochester with a hunger for an understanding of African and African-American History. I came here knowing that my grandmother was told by a professor during her college experience that African Americans "HAD NO HISTORY", and feeling as though that might be true since I had not truly learned about it in school in any substantial way. The Frederick Douglass Institute has not only proven my grandmother's ignorant professor wrong, it has given me immeasurable opportunities. I have been able to acquire knowledge about my people's history in ways I never have before. The Frederick Douglass Institute made it possible for me to stop having to teach myself my history. I will be forever grateful for the incredible education I received through the Frederick Douglass Institute and the opportunities to meet phenomenal educators in the process. Thank you, Frederick Douglass Institute for helping me really begin to understand what it truly means to be an African American.  

Frederick Douglass Institute Undergraduate Prizes

The Frederick Douglass Prize is a college-wide contest to select the best undergraduate research paper in the broad area of African and African-American Studies.

The 2011-12 Frederick Douglass Prize was awarded to:

Tory Tilton, Class of 2012
Double Major: Religion & Classics and International Relations

for her paper on

“Is Religion Malleable: Analyzing the Celestial Church of Christ to Explore Syncretism between Christianity and Vodun in Benin"