The program of the U.S. Department of State awards about 1,900 grants annually to fund airfare, room and board, health insurance and incidental expenses for one academic year of international graduate study, advanced research and teaching in 140 countries. Students and young professionals are selected on the basis of their academic and professional achievement, record of service and leadership.
Eke, who expects to graduate in June with a bachelor’s degree in gender, sexuality and women’s studies, will teach English at the University of Malta. A musician who plays six instruments, manages artists and produces music, she plans to incorporate into her lessons hip hop as well as the Maltese music tradition of Ghana, a rhyming, conversational form of ballad or argument. She has presented her research on the artistry of black female musicians and their roles as political activists at Harvard and Purdue universities. She also tutors at the Juvenile Detention Facility and the Yolo County Jail, both in Woodland, California.
Designed to encourage students from groups often underrepresented in graduate programs to pursue doctoral degrees, the UC Davis McNair Scholars Program is a two-year program funded by TRIO and the U.S. Department of Education.
“My experience in McNair has helped me to develop my scholarship greatly,” said Eke. “It has given me the confidence to pursue my own individual research, seek out mentors in my field as well as helped me with my public speaking abilities through teaching and engaging different communities through presenting my research.”
Eke plans to pursue a doctorate in cultural studies and then, as a university professor, develop courses that enhance cultural knowledge and understanding through different concepts of identity. In the meantime, Amanda looks forward to applying her experiences with the McNair Scholars program to her latest academic adventure, noting that the program provided “stepping stones to the engagement I hope to have as a cultural ambassador abroad during my Fulbright year in Malta."
For more information about the UC Davis McNair Scholars Program, visit the McNair Scholars Program website. Additional news and information on the Fulbright Program can be found on the UC Davis Fulbright Program website.