Alumni and Careers

Here is information on what some of the past Africana Studies students are doing.

If you would like to send the program updated information, we would be happy to include this in the alumni/ae page. Please send any information to the Africana Studies program coordinator, Elizabeth at epalmer2@bowdoin.edu.

Rickey Larke

Rickey Larke

Class of: 2015

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Major(s): Africana Studies

A quick glance at my career may suggest my Africana Studies education is absent however the themes studied and connections made while studying in the department drive the content of all my work.

What are you doing now?

Six days after Commencement I was boarding a plane to Los Angeles to pursue my passion for filmmaking. I am currently working in the president’s office at TGroup Productions as an Executive Assistant. My current role allows me to learn the business behind television production while still giving me time to work as an independent filmmaker. Just recently I directed and produced a short film with my team in Washington D.C.

Mark Richter

Mark Richter

Class of: 2014

Location: Bonn, Germany

Major(s): Africana Studies

After graduating in May of 2014, Mark spent two years working as an Admission Counselor at Bates College. He is currently living in Bonn, Germany, and working as an English Teaching Assistant through the Fulbright Program, a U.S. State Department grant that promotes cultural and linguistic exchange.

Hannah Wurgaft

Hannah Wurgaft

Class of: 2014

Location: Manhattan, NY

Major(s): Africana Studies

My coursework in the Africana Studies department challenged me to think critically about racial disparities in our society.

What are you doing now?

After graduation, I began working as a Trial Preparation Assistant in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. In this position, I help six Assistant District Attorney's manage their caseload. This includes drafting legal documents, coordinating with law enforcement officials, and sitting in on witness and victim interviews. My coursework in the Africana Studies department challenged me to think critically about racial disparities in our society, specifically in the criminal justice system. My work at the DA's office affords me a unique perspective into this pressing issue.

Stanford Spurlock

Stanford Spurlock

Class of: 2014

Location: Los Angeles, CA

Major(s): Africana Studies

After graduation I packed up my bags and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in the music industry.

What are you doing now?

I’m currently working as an executive assistant at BMG Chrysalis, a music publishing company with offices all over the world. While the job is equal parts work and play, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the the business side of music, while further deepening my appreciation for the artistic side as well. My journey is just beginning, but one day I’d like to move into artist management, and help revitalize an industry that many believe is on the decline. In the meantime, the grind continues…

Jonathan MacKenzie Short

Jonathan MacKenzie Short

Class of: 2000

Location: Newark, NJ

Major(s): Africana Studies

Mr. Short obtained his law degree from the William and Mary School of Law in 2003. He is now a partner at McCarter and English, and practices in all areas of intellectual property law, representing clients in disputes and transactions relating to patent, trademark, trade dress, copyright and trade secret, as well as unfair trade/business practices, cyberlaw and data privacy issues.

Saudia Natoya Davis

Saudia Natoya Davis

Class of: 2000

Location: New York City, NY

Major(s): Africana Studies

Ms. Davis is Founder and President of GreenHouse Eco-Cleaning in New York City.

Tracey Shirey

Tracey Shirey

Class of: 2014

Location: Atlanta, GA

Major(s): Africana Studies, Biology

Tracey Shirey graduated from Bowdoin in 2014 with a double major in biology and Africana studies, and is originally from Waterloo, IA. She is currently enrolled in the MD program at the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, GA.

More About Tracey

After graduating from Bowdoin, Tracy spent two years in Washington, DC, serving as an AmeriCorp member with AIDS United at Whitman Walker Health, a community health center specializing in LGBT and HIV care. She provided HIV testing and counseling services, facilitated support groups for HIV positive men and women, coordinated a peer mentorship program for individuals newly diagnosed with HIV, and trained individuals in HIV/STI testing, street outreach, and sex education. For her medical training, Tracy knew that she wanted to attend an institution that recognized the importance of both science and service in the study of medicine. She chose Emory because the main training ground of its medical students is Grady Hospital, which is one of the few public hospitals remaining in the country and representative of the University’s commitment to provide healthcare to all residents of Atlanta, regardless of their ability to pay.

Pamela Zabala

Pamela Zabala

Class of: 2017

Location: Durham, NC

Major(s): Sociology

Minor(s): Africana Studies

I am a PhD student in the Sociology program at Duke University. Right now, I'm making my way through the coursework for the degree, but I eventually hope to do research on migration, race, and politics in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, as well as identity formation among immigrants in the United States.

What is your occupation? What is your current job (roles and responsibilities)?

I am a PhD student in the Sociology program at Duke University. Prior to starting graduate school I was a paralegal for a law firm in Massachusetts that specialized in family- and business-based immigration law. My role was to assist the family-based side of the practice and work directly with foreign nationals tying to achieve lawful status and make a life for themselves in the United States. I hope to use this experience to inform my own research and future work.

How has your Bowdoin education and experience helped you and informed the work that you do?

At Bowdoin, I never felt like I was learning just for the sake of learning, and my classes and my work always felt purposeful and related to real-world issues. I feel that this really laid the groundwork for my path to graduate school, and I hope to take this same approach to the work that I am doing and hope to do in the future, especially around issues of race, identity, and belonging.

Has studying Sociology and Anthropology impacted your perspective (personally, professionally, or other)? If so, how?

Studying Sociology has made me more aware of the things going on around me, and opened my eyes to a lot of issues that are sometimes taken for granted. My research has also taught me that there's always more than one way to look at a problem, and to keep an open mind when thinking about a particular issue or research question because sometimes what we think is going on or what we perceive from the outside doesn't reflect what is actually happening. Personally, what I like most about the field is that it gives me the tools to address questions that I had already been asking my whole life, but it allows me to do so while drawing from a variety of perspectives and approaches to get a fuller picture.

What are the one or two events, courses or people that stand out in your mind from your time at Bowdoin?

Two things that stand out to me from my time at Bowdoin are my advisors, who went above and beyond for four years to work with me, challenge me, and push me to be a better student and sociologist, and my theory class with Dr. Theo Greene, which was the academic catalyst that pushed me toward doing independent research and considering graduate school more seriously.

Do you have any advice for current student at Bowdoin?

Make the most of your time at Bowdoin and don't be afraid to do things that challenge you!