Biography: Ann Biersteker joined the African Studies Center in 2013. She coordinates activities related to MSU’s work as a U.S. Department of Education National Resource Center for African Studies and as an institution that awards Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowships. She also manages the “Eye on Africa” seminar series and teaches a course on Swahili literature. Ann has a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin in African languages and literature. She has published two books on Swahili poetry and a widely used Swahili textbook as well as a wide range of articles on African literature.
Ann has been awarded three U.S. Department of Education International Research and Studies awards, five U.S. Department of Education Group Projects Abroad awards, and she was awarded a Fulbright-Hays Senior Scholar Research Abroad Award and a Fulbright-Hays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Award.
Biography: Damaris Choti is Assistant to the Director of African Studies Center at MSU. She holds PhD and MA degrees in K-12 Educational Administration from Michigan State University. Damaris coordinates and facilitates communication and collaboration among Africa-related student groups at MSU. She also identifies and recruits students with interest in Africa and, together with them, designs a series of activities that help the larger MSU community learn more about Africa and the learning opportunities available through the African Studies Center. She advises Kongamano student group and the African Graduate Students Association (AGSA).
Damaris’s areas of interest include school administration, women school leadership, gender studies and African studies. She has authored a book chapter Where did the Girls go?: The Role of Socialization and Institutions in Silencing Female Voices. In "Becoming Critical: The Emergence of Social Justice Scholars" Eds: Broscoe, F. & Muhammad K. (SUNY, 2015) and an article, The Role of Family Social Capital in the Upward Mobility of Kenyan Female School Principals (Kenya Scholars and Studies Association KESSA, 2013).
Biography: Lisa Frugé joined the African Studies Center in June 1996 as the Editorial Assistant and was recently promoted to Editor of the African Studies Center's weekly bulletin. Lisa works closely with the Assistant Director to host 12 to 14 speakers per semester for weekly seminars, as well as assist with coordinating major events for the unit. Lisa handles all of the communications for the office and has served as the resource person and "face" of the Center for many years.
Lisa graduated from Spring Arbor University with a bachelor's of science in Organizational Management. In June 2015, Lisa was a recipient of the Jack Breslin Distinguished Staff Award.
Biography: Lisa Hinds joined the African Studies Center in her current role in July 2014. Her primary responsibilities involve the financial and budgetary functions of the center, including grants administration. She also works closely with the Center Director in overall strategic planning for the Center with respect to staffing, budgets and operations.
Lisa completed her bachelor's degree in Finance at the Eli Broad College of Business at Michigan State University.
Biography: John has coordinated the Center's outreach programming with 1987. In addition to working with K-12 educators, he has developed programming to community colleges, Historical Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), the Michigan business community, state and local government as well as to the general public. He earned his PhD in Educational Policy Studies and African Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
He has been an adjunct faculty member of the MSU Department of Teacher Education (1987-present) where he has taught courses in African and comparative and international education. Since 1990 he has led over 20 study abroad programs (for MSU teacher education majors) and Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad programs (for K-12 educators, community college and HBCU faculty) to Botswana, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. He directed the development of Exploring Africa, the most comprehensive web-based curriculum on Africa for middle and high school educators and students.
Biography: Jamie Monson is the newly appointed Director of African Studies at Michigan State University, where she is also a Professor of History. Dr. Monson received her MA in African Area Studies and her PhD in African History from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her current research focuses on Chinese development assistance to Africa. She is a specialist on the TAZARA railway, a development project built in Tanzania and Zambia with Chinese development cooperation in the 1970s.
Her book, Africa's Freedom Railway: How a Chinese Development Project Changed Lives and Livelihoods in Tanzania (Indiana, 2009) has been widely acclaimed and has been recently published in Chinese (2015).
Professor Monson's new research projects concern technology transfer and civil diplomacy in China-Africa engagement. She also has a strong background in African agricultural and environmental history, an interest she developed originally as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya. She speaks Swahili, German and French and has been studying Chinese since 2009.
Biography: Rebekah serves as the Center's Secretary, where she is responsible for managing the Director's calendar while also providing broad support across a variety of projects. She is pursuing a B.B.A. in Human Resource Management at Cleary University.