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University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS)

Senyo Adzei has been teaching African Music since 2005 and has been at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, since 2011 where he is also pursuing a PhD in Ethnomusicology.  He has a BMus and an MPhil in Music from the University of Ghana. He also has a Certificate in Western Music from the Sibelius Academy in Finland. Senyo’s research project is “An Ethnomusicological Inquiry in the Creative Processes in Shrine Music of the Awudome People of Ghana.” He has also researched “The Status of Music Therapy in Ghana" and "The Praxes of Music Dance and Drama in Healing Rituals in Ghana." Senyo’s mentor is Professor Naomi André from the Departments of Afroamerican and African Studies, Women’s Studies, and at the Residential College.

Debela Gemeda Bedane is an assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College, Ethiopia. He holds an M.Sc. in Pharmacology and a B.Pharm. from Addis Ababa University and is a doctoral candidate working on “Pharmacogenetic Predictors of Antidepressant Drug Response.” His research interests include pharmacogenetics and neuropharmacology. His mentor is Professor Srijan Sen, Psychiatry, Medical School.

Odur Benard is an assistant lecturer in the Department of Statistical Methods and Actuarial Science at Makerere University, Uganda.  He holds an M.Sc. in Statistics (Bio-statistics) and a B.Sc. in Statistics and Mathematics from Makerere University. He also served as a Monitoring and Evaluation Consultant with the Office of the Prime Minister of Uganda. While at U-M, Odur will conduct “A Retrospective Analysis of Progression in Neonatal and Infant Mortality Drivers in Uganda from 1995-2016.” His mentor is Professor Brisa Sanchez, Biostatistics, School of Public Health.

Kalilu S. Donzo is a lecturer in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Liberia. Kalilu has a BSc in Biology from the University of Liberia and a MSc in Plant Biotechnology from Kerala Agricultural University in Kerala, India. While at U-M, Kalilu plans to pursue advanced training in molecular biology techniques to introduce research-based techniques at the University of Liberia. Kalilu’s mentor is Professor W. Clay Brown, Life Sciences Institute.

Veronica Millicent Dzomeku is a senior lecturer in the Department of Nursing at KNUST, in Kumasi, Ghana. She has a Ph.D. from the School of Nursing at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa, as well as an M.Phil. in Nursing and B.A. (Hons.) in Nursing and Psychology from the University of Ghana. While at U-M, Veronica will be working on an “Exploration of Expectations and Experiences of Mothers toward Childbirth Care.” Her mentor is Professor Jodi Lori, School of Nursing.

Thelma Fennie is an associate lecturer in the Department of Psychology at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She has an M.Phil. in HIV/AIDS Management from Stellenbosch University and a B.A. (Hons.) in Psychology from University of the Western Cape. She is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of the Western Cape. While at U-M, Thelma will be “Exploring Psychological Effects of Adolescent Girls Experiences from Menarche and Menstruation in a School Setting.” Her research areas are adolescents’ sexual- and reproductive health, HIV/AIDS and women’s education. She has published in peer-reviewed journals. Her mentor is Professor Rona Carter in the Department of Psychology.

Audrey Kalindi is a lecturer at the University of Zambia in the Department of Population Studies. Audrey has a B.A. in Demography and a M.A. in Population Studies from the University of Zambia, with a post graduate diploma in Monitoring and Evaluation from Stellenbosch University, South Africa. Audrey will be researching “Factors that Affect Use of Maternal Health Services, HIV Testing and Linkage to Medical Care in Zambia”. Her mentor is Professor A. Oveta Fuller, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical School.

Pamela Khanakwa is a lecturer in the Department of History, Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Makerere University, Kampala, Uganda. Pamela has a Ph.D. and M.A. in History from Northwestern University as well as B.A. and M.A. degrees in History from Makerere University. Her research project is entitled, “Bagisu Men Don’t Cry: Imbalu and the Construction of Masculinities in Uganda,” and her mentor is Professor Derek Peterson, Departments of Afroamerican and African Studies and History, LSA.

Mestewat Debasu Mognhodie is a lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Ethiopia. She holds an M.Sc. degree in Medical Biochemistry and B.Sc. in Applied Biology from Addis Ababa University and is a doctoral candidate working on “The Exploration and Utilization of Glycan-Based Biomarkers for Breast Cancer Patients on Chemotherapy in Ethiopia.” Her research interest includes Genetics and Molecular Biology. Her mentor is Professor David Lubman, Surgery Department, Medical School.

Moses Muhumuza is associate professor of Human Ecology and Director of Postgraduate Studies and Research, School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Mountains of the Moon University, Uganda. He has a Ph.D. in Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences from the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg South Africa, as well as a B.Sc. of Education in Biology and Chemistry and an M.Sc. in Biology from Mbarara University of Science and Technology, Uganda. While at U-M, he will be researching “Holistic Community-based Biodiversity Conservation in National Parks in Rural Africa.” His mentor is Professor Nyeema Harris, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, LSA. 

Precious Ndlovu is a lecturer of Law at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. She holds an LL.D. and LL.M. from the University of the Western Cape and an LL.B. from the University of Fort Hare, South Africa. While at U-M, Precious will be researching “The Economics of Mergers and Acquisitions in Africa’s Regional Competition Law Frameworks: An Examination of the COMESA Competition Commission.” Her mentor is Professor Laura Beny, Law School.

Melessew Nigussie is an assistant professor and researcher in the Physics Department at Bahir Dar University, Ethiopia. He has a B.Sc. in Physics and an M.Sc. in Space Physics from Bahir Dar University. In 2014 he was awarded a Ph.D. in Space Physics from Bahir Dar University in collaboration with the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Italy.  At U-M, Melessew will be “Investigating Triggering Mechanisms of Ionospheric Irregularities in the Equatorial Ionosphere.” His mentor is Professor Mark Moldwin, Climate and Space Sciences, College of Engineering.

Oluwakemi A. Rotimi is a lecturer and researcher of Biological Sciences at Covenant University, Nigeria.  Oluwakemi has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Toxicology option, as well as a B.Sc. (Hons.) and M.Sc. in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Nigeria. While at U-M, Oluwakemi will be researching “The Role of Epigenetics in the Toxicity of Environmental Exposures.” Her mentor is Professor Jaclyn Goodrich, Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health.

Mthokozisi Simelane is a lecturer of Biological Sciences at the University of Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Mthokozisi received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry, M.Sc. in Biochemistry and B.Sc. (Hons.) in Medical Science and Biochemistry from the University of Zululand. At U-M, he will be researching “Ursolic Acid Acetate as a Promising Agent for Malarial Chemotherapy.” His mentor is Professor Vernon Carruthers, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Medical School.  

Zewdu Jima Takle is a lecturer in the Department of Physiology, St. Paul’s Hospital Millennium Medical College in Ethiopia. He holds an M.Sc. degree in Physiology from Addis Ababa University and a B.Sc. in Physiotherapy from University of Gondar. Zewdu is a doctoral candidate researching “The Molecular Signaling Mechanisms in the Vessel Wall after Stroke and Pathways Mediated by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF).” His research interests include vascular biology and neuroscience. His mentor is Professor Daniel Lawrence, Cardiovascular Medicine, Medical School.

Solomon Assefa Woreta is an assistant professor in the Department of Health Informatics at the University of Gondar, Ethiopia. He has a M.Ph. in Health Informatics as well as a B.Sc. in Medical Laboratory Technology from the University of Gondar. His research at U-M will focus on “Evidence-Based Public Health Practice for Screening Hypertension in Ethiopian Public Hospitals.” Solomon’s mentor is Professor Minal Patel, Health Behavior and Health Education, School of Public Health.

Yikunnoamlak Mezgebu Zerabiruk is a lecturer in the College of Humanities, Language Studies, Journalism and Communications at Addis Ababa University. He has a B.A. in Ethiopian Languages and Literature (Amharic), an M.A. in Journalism and Communication, and an M.A. in Philosophy from Addis Ababa University. He will be researching “From Competition to Composition:  Languages, Regions and Religions in an Ethiopian Literature.” Yikunnoamlak’s mentors are Professors Judith Irvine, Department of Anthropology, LSA, and Daniel Herwitz, Departments of History of Art and Comparative Literature, LSA.