The Outreach Scholars Program is comprised of graduate and undergraduate students with extensive experience living, working, or studying in Africa. Our scholars have diverse backgrounds, with a range of experiences in different regions across the continent. Outreach Scholars try to dispel myths and break down the simple stories that are so often recited about Africa.
Outreach Scholars enrich school curricula and community events by sharing their area studies expertise, life stories, and artistic skills. As they facilitate learning experiences that go beyond the textbook, Outreach Scholars expand students’, teachers’, and community members’ understanding of different African contexts.
Our Outreach Scholars participate in an initial training workshop and receive ongoing support as they develop and facilitate presentations. As they share their knowledge and expertise in classrooms and community settings, Outreach Scholars gain valuable public speaking and teaching experience that they bring with them to their future careers.
To invite an Outreach Scholar to your school or community event, please contact the African Studies Outreach Coordinator (email@example.com / 608.265.9151). See below for bios and presentation topics, or you can ask our African Studies Outreach Coordinator for assistance in finding the right scholar for your classroom needs.
-Lecture/presentation on a requested topic
-Educational programs and curriculum consultation
-Presentations for community groups
Country experience: Mali, Benin (West Africa generally)
Languages: French, Bambara (conversational), Bariba (conversational)
Presentation topics: Agrarian life, water, agriculture, natural resources, conflict resolution, local government, West African music and culture
I am a sixth-year Geography PhD student. I currently conduct dissertation research in Mali, West Africa. I served as a Peace Corps volunteer and conducted Master’s research in Bénin. My work and interests largely focus on resource use in rural areas and how climate change is affecting people’s livelihoods. I like to share with people on rural life in West Africa: how people get by through farming, livestock husbandry, and other activities; the challenges they face, the ways they overcome those challenges. I also enjoy West African music, culture, and history.
Country experience: Ghana
Languages: Twi, Fante
Presentation topics: Ghanaian culture, slavery, girls’ education
I am a graduate student at the Department of African languages and Literature. I come from Ghana, West Africa, and my academic interest lies in African women writers. As an Outreach Scholar, I am interested in sharing Ghana with people who would like to know more about the country where I grew up. I am particularly interested in teaching about the educational system in Ghana, women and economic development and storytelling in Ghana.
Country experience: Ghana
Presentation topics: HIV/AIDS in marginalized communities, conflict resolution, ethnic conflict, the Rwandan genocide, non-profits and NGOs- structure and impact on local communities, foreign aid, ECOWAS and the African Union, history and impact of colonialism in Ghana
I am a fifth year senior studying Political Science and Strategic Communication in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication. In the summer of 2012 I was fortunate enough to apply my academic passion for African Studies by doing 10 weeks of field work in Ghana, West Africa. I interned with a small NGO in Ho, Ghana that provides education and medical care to those vulnerable populations impacted by HIV, including single women and children. I assisted in testing patients for malaria in the malaria testing clinic and laboratory, and I taught a sexual health education class to the teenage girls in the orphanage. This semester, I am completing a directed study focused on the strategic communication platform of the current Rwandan administration. As an outreach scholar, I am excited to share my passion for African studies. My interests include strategies to combat HIV AIDS, public health and policy, women’s rights, conflict resolution, and the political/ economic impacts of non-governmental organizations. I am also happy to share aspects of my experiences regarding culture and life in the Volta Region of Ghana, West Africa.
Country experience: Senegal, Mali and travel in West Africa more broadly
Languages: Pulaar, Bambara, Arabic, French
Presentation topics: Urbanization, climate change, natural resources, local government, public health in rural and urban areas, small-scale farming and livestock production, gender and development
I am a second year master’s student in Geography. I recently finished field research in Senegal on information networks and responses to climate change among small-scale producers. I was a health and environmental education Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal. I have since lived and worked in Bamako, Mali on land use planning and provision of primary health care. I have developed a deep attachment to West Africa and enjoy sharing about the region’s languages, history, cooking, music, dance, and stories and riddles.
Country experience :Ghana
Languages: Twi, French (beginner)
Presentation topics: Ghana, human rights, U.S. policy towards Africa
I am a senior studying Political Science, International Studies – Global Security, and African Studies. I spent six months studying and working in Ghana during my junior year. While in Ghana, I worked at a women’s rights organization. I also have a passion for human rights and have studied human rights in Africa extensively. I am the founder of the Conflict-Free Campus Initiative at UW-Madison, a movement that seeks to raise awareness about the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo and urges electronic companies to responsibly invest in the mining sector of eastern Congo. I recently spent summer of 2012 in Washington, D.C. working on shaping U.S. policy towards conflicts in Africa. I am particularly interested in sharing my experiences living in Ghana or talking about human rights issues in Africa.
Country experience: Ethiopia
Presentation topics: Ethiopia’s laws and development, environment law
I am a graduate student in the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies with a background in law and an interest in laws and development in Africa. I went to teach law at Haramaya University, Ethiopia after graduating from law school. During that time I became involved in many student activities and eventually university administration and I had the opportunity to work and teach with some brilliant Ethiopian colleagues. It was a great joy years later to watch my first group of students graduate and move on to professional careers as lawyers, prosecutors, teachers, and judges. My plans after graduate school is to continue my involvement with environmental law in developing countries.
Country experience: Tanzania
Languages:Kiswahili, Chagga, French
Presentation Topics: Culture, storytelling, songs
I am a graduate student in the Department of African Languages and Literature with an interest in African studies and pedagogy. I was born in Tanzania and have a vast experience of its culture and people. As an Outreach Scholar, I am interested in sharing stories and songs from Tanzania and knowledge about the country and its people.
Country experience: Nigeria
Languages: Yoruba, Igbo
Presentation topics: Nigerian history, politics and government, Yorùbá history and culture, African cinema and mythology
Báwo ni! My name is Olusegun. I am a graduate student in the Department of African Languages and Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I teach my language Yorùbá here at the university. I am a playwright, poet and novelist. I enjoy sharing the following aspects about Nigeria: oral traditions, political system, film/cinema and the Yorùbá culture.
“The presenters had first hand knowledge of living in Senegal and were extremely enthusiastic about the time they spent there. They were engaging speakers and understood what would be interesting to the audience. They were just wonderful–I think my students and I could have listened to them for hours! I would love to have them come back!” – Jennifer Wolfe, French teacher at Verona Area High School
“Professor Songolo was able to provide much more clarity to a difficult situation and my students benefitted immensely!”—Carol Brey, teacher at Waunakee High School
“I want to thank you for all your help in contributing to our African culture day. Students were absolutely delighted and want to do it again. They not only learned so much, but they had fun, too. They wish all their school days could be like this”—Barb Cnare, teacher at Watertown High School
“They really engaged the students, and captivated their interest. I had students comment on how helpful it was. We were really happy with the presentation, and my students really gained a lot. Thank you so much for setting everything up!”—Susan Baldwin, teacher at Adams-Friendship High School
“We had a WONDERFUL visit this morning, and the students welcomed Olayinka most warmly. Students were very comfortable with her, curious, and interested. Thank you so much for helping to arrange this amazing cultural exposure.”—Gail Sterkel, teacher at Monona Grove High School
“We can’t thank you and Theresah enough for the amazing program on Friday. The kids could not stop talking about it. Theresah did a beautiful job of teaching them age appropriate things and making it fun. We will for sure have the program back in the future!” -Sarah Popp, teacher at Our Redeemer Lutheran School