Jennifer Bunkley

Class of 2018
Jennifer Bunkley is a Georgia native and a member of the class of 2018 concentrating in African American Studies, with a focus in African American culture and life. Jennifer became interested in the department after taking AAS 201: Introduction to African American Studies in her sophomore year. Guided by her Princeton coursework, as well as her own personal interests, Jennifer has become dedicated to observing all things related to the Black Power Movement, as well as the Black Lives Matter Movement. She is interested in the intersections of race, gender, and visual presentation, as well. Around campus, Jennifer is an officer and dancer for Raqs: Princeton Belly Dance. Within the next few years, Jennifer plans to attend medical school.

Matthew Choi Taitano

Class of 2018
Matthew Choi Taitano is a native of Guam and member of the class of 2018 concentrating in African American Studies and pursuing a certificate in Gender and Sexuality Studies. He became interested in these two fields of study after taking several classes in the Department of African American Studies and getting involved with the LGBT Center. His research interests are specifically focused on the intersections of race and queerness, visual culture, oppressive aestheticizations of the body, and decolonial thought. In addition to his involvement with the LGBT Center, Matthew has been involved with a variety of programs, organizations, and centers on campus, such as the Princeton Hidden Minority Council, the Princeton Equality Project, the LGBT Peer Education Program, the Pace Center, The Daily Princetonian, and more. He also currently works as a student staff member at the LGBT Center, as a desk assistant at Marquand Library of Art and Archaeology, and as a student ambassador at GLAAD. During his second year at Princeton, he was awarded the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, as well as received awards from the LGBT Center for his activism and service to queer communities on and off campus. His ultimate goal is to become a professor at a university where he will be able to perform research and teach.

Avanthi Cole

Class of 2018
Avanthi Cole, a Princeton, NJ native, is a member of the Class of 2018. She is thrilled to be a part of the inaugural class of African American Studies majors. Her interest in pursuing a concentration in the AAS department was sparked by Professor Murakawa’s The New Jim Crow, a course she took in her freshman spring. Since then, Avanthi has taken a variety of classes in the department, and has only fallen more in love with the field. She is currently interested in how multiracial individuals negotiate their multiple identities in a society that pressures them to choose one. Extracurricularly, she is the co-president of the Black Student Union.

Imani Ford

Class of 2018
Imani Noelle Ford is from the city of Chicago and a member of the Class of 2018 concentrating in African American Studies and pursuing a certificate in Visual Arts on the sculpture track. She became interested in African American Studies through her interest in Religion, Hip Hop culture, Black Cultural practices, and the question of how to live well (how to be) under certain conditions of marginalization. She is also interested in the intersection of race, gender, sexuality, construction of binaries, and what it means for one’s identities to be Queered. Her interest in her body and what it means to live through (and be in) our particular moment also drew her to the field of African American Studies. Though her artwork and research are not the same, her research often informs her art. They are both pointing to her body. She is interested in experimental sculpture, physically intangible material, the color blue, the absurd, negative space, subjectivity vs specificity, light, and scale. In addition to her membership in the Visual Arts program, she is also a Mellon Mays Fellow. In the past she was involved in the Black Justice League, the LGBT Peer Educator Program, Religious Life Council, and many other organizations on campus. She was a 2016 recipient of the Martin A. Dale scholarship in which she traveled the country meeting black artists. After college she hopes to do a fellowship abroad, practice meditation, pursue art, and go to graduate school. Her dream is to professionally make art and teach at a university.

Rachelle Jacques

Class of 2018
Rachelle is a student in the Princeton class of 2018 focusing on Race and Public Policy in the African American Studies department. She is originally from Stamford, Connecticut and the daughter of Haitian immigrants. She is very excited to be apart of the first group of students from Princeton to major in our department, as she is very interested in how the construction of race through policy has affected the development of national and state institutions. Rachelle is passionate about helping underserved communities gain access to resources that will allow them to have the tools for a successful future. Moreover, one of Rachelle’s life goals is to work heavily with the Haitian government and people to promote the overall development in her home country.

Samantha Newman

Class of 2018
Samantha is a disciple of Christ, a resident of sunny San Diego, CA, a member of the class of 2018, and a proud African American Studies major. Coming from a diverse environment, it had never occurred to her that racism was anything more than outright bigotry, or that systematic racial injustice actually had not ended with the Civil Rights Movement. Upon taking an AAS course on a whim her freshman fall, she was surprised at the richness of the subject matter—the dynamic social, historical, and political role the idea of race plays in this country. Her area of academic interest now focuses on studying the educational achievement gap in higher education between native-born Black Americans and Black immigrants. As she earns the certificate in Spanish, she also enjoys coursework in Latin American studies and Spanish language and style. Outside of the classroom, she challenges popular notions of race in a church setting, and engages in conversations about said notions in order to pursue racial reconciliation within the body of Christ. She serves as Co-chair of Princeton’s Alcohol Initiative Fund Board and as Student Coordinator of Butler/Wilson Dining Hall. She also currently serves as a Worship Team leader in Princeton Faith & Action. Her non-academic interests include reading C.S. Lewis, throwing dinner parties, watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, speaking Spanish, experiencing the pain of beauty, and spending long periods of time in the presence of her friends.

Rosed Serrano

Class of 2018
Rosed Serrano is a member of the class of 2018 majoring in African American Studies. She became interested in the department because her experience with classes in the department challenged the way she looked at the world and her place in it differently. Along with African American Studies she is pursuing certificates in Creative Writing, Poetry and Portuguese. She is interested in the way identity manifests itself around the world and in the realm of the imaginary. On campus she is a tour guide for the Princeton Art Museum, a fellow for the Carl A. Field’s Center and a Peer Health Advisor.

Amina Simon

Class of 2018
Amina Simon is a member of the class of 2018 majoring in African American Studies and pursuing a certificate in Ethnographic Studies. Her interest in race has developed slowly throughout her life, informed by a variety of experiences at home in Colorado, elsewhere in the US, and abroad in the Dominican Republic, Senegal, and Cuba. Through her coursework at Princeton, this interest has progressed into a dedication to the pursuit of liberation with a critical lens on the intersectionalities of oppression, privilege, and identity. She is a Diversity Peer Fellow at the Carl A. Fields Center for Equality and Cultural Understanding and a member of the Campus Art and Iconography Committee: Portraiture Working Group, and holds several campus jobs. She has also been involved in various service activities and activism efforts on campus. She seeks to grow and learn from her mistakes, frustrations, and successes and to collaborate always in the construction of an inclusive reality.

Nicky Steidel

Class of 2018
Nicky Steidel is a member of the class of 2018 majoring in African American Studies. He became involved in the field via his interest in radical politics, a passion he developed through attending punk rock shows in Los Angeles as a teenager as well as his experiences as a teacher. His research interests include radical political thought, the Black Radical Tradition, labor and social history, music subcultures (especially hardcore punk), strategies and histories of collective action, and ushering in the end of racial capitalism as soon as possible, thank you very much. On campus, Nicky is a DJ and Publicity and Promotions Director at the student-run community radio station, WPRB, and a mentor in the Big Sibs program. Off campus, he is involved in the local chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. Nicky does not make very many plans for the future, but he has considered teaching high school American history, going to graduate school, doing labor/racial justice advocacy work, founding his own D.I.Y., sober, all-ages art space, and definitely not doing any kind of corporate consulting.

Wilglory Tanjong

Class of 2018
Born in Yaoundé, Cameroon and reared in Maryland, Wilglory is an author, academic, social justice activist, and a member of Princeton’s Class of 2018. She is a Mellon Mays Fellow, a Future Global Leaders Fellow, and a Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America Scholar. She was honored alongside her co-author as the United Negro College Fund's "Youth of the Year" for her book, #Admitted: A Revolutionary Guide to Overcoming the Odds, which advises youth on how to be successful in high school and during the college application process. Her book is currently being used by thousands of students across the country to help bridge the gap in access to higher education. You can find out more at admittedguide.com. At Princeton University, she led various activist efforts as a member of the Black Justice League and she also co-founded DoroBucci, an African dance group. Her passion for bringing African culture to Princeton led her to serving on the African students association board, and planning Okwele: a Cameroonian student academic conference, Sankofa: an African fashion show, and Sakata: an African dance competition. Her academic interests include forming a greater knowledge of the relationship between African and African Americans Studies, beyond their shared history of slavery. This past summer she interned at Facebook in their Global Marketing Solutions division, studied French in Paris, and conducted academic research.

Elena Tsemberis

Class of 2018
Elena grew up in Montclair, New Jersey. She is a member of the Class of 2018 majoring in African American Studies and also on the pre-medical track. After taking a few of the courses in the department, Elena realized she found the subject material extremely gripping and socially relevant. Though her hometown was racially diverse, she is now seeing the world through a new lens that confronts and grapples with the questions and implications of race and racism. Elena hopes to go to medical school after graduating. She is interested in the intersection of race and medicine and the ways that race is portrayed (if at all) in medical school curriculums. Elena is on the executive board of GlobeMed (a global health related club on campus), a Sexual Harassment/Assault Advising, Resources and Education (SHARE) Peer, in Tropical Clinics for Rural Health (another global health club), volunteers at CONTACT crisis hotline, and has a tutoring job off campus.