African Studies Program welcomes new associate director

Aleia McCord
Aleia McCord. (Photo by Meagan Doll)

The African Studies Program is delighted to welcome Aleia McCord as associate director.

In her position, McCord will steward the program to ensure that it meets the needs of African Studies faculty and students.

McCord has a long history of involvement with the African Studies Program. In 2011, she served as the lead student organizer of “Peace Corps and Africa,” the program’s annual conference. This past year, she presented her work on microscale biogas systems in Uganda as an Outreach Scholar.

“I’m looking forward to re-engaging with the vibrant African Studies community,” said McCord.

Growing up, McCord never dreamed she would study or work with Africa.

“I grew up in a small town in Texas without much exposure to different cultures,” she said.

When she arrived at college and began meeting people from diverse backgrounds, she jumped at every opportunity to learn more.

Aleia McCord
McCord (left) and her colleagues build digesters that break down organic wastes to produce biogas, a fuel that can be used for cooking. (Photo courtesy of Aleia McCord)

Choosing to study abroad in Tanzania was a defining moment.

“I decided I should go to the most far-flung place I could think of. After that, I did everything I could to get back to Africa.”

Since then, McCord has volunteered with the Peace Corps in Ghana and conducted research on anaerobic digestion in Uganda. She recently completed her Ph.D.

As associate director, McCord hopes to serve as a bridge between African scholars on campus and the wider community.

“The Young African Leaders Initiative is a great example of the dynamic programming I’d like to see in the future. It shows how our program’s scholarship can have an impact beyond the boundaries of campus.”

Learn more about McCord in her AFRICA IN OUR LIVES profile.