Omowumi Banjo-Ogunleye has been a Yoruba instructor and cultural exchange ambassador in DAAS through the Fulbright Language Teaching Assistant program since 2020. With support from the African Studies Center's first Heleniak-Carstarphen scholarship, she will join the Masters in International and Regional Studies program in fall 2022. Her research will focus on the impact of culture and religion on gender-based violence and victimhood in West Africa.

David Heleniak and Meria Carstarphen established the Heleniak-Carstarphen Graduate Student Scholars Fund to provide a year of support to a master's student who earned their undergraduate degree from a university in Africa. The couple's gift is the largest to-date for the African Studies Center and includes a Ph.D. application fund to aid in recruiting African students to U-M Ph.D. programs.

"The perspectives and experiences of African students greatly enhance our understanding in all areas of research at Michigan, and also our partnership with African institutions," said ASC Director and Professor of Linguistics Andries Coetzee. "David and Meria’s visionary gift enables the African Studies Center to make major inroads in attracting graduate-level students from Africa to the United States and the University of Michigan."

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