Ann Arbor, MI (August 29, 2016) – The African Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Michigan, is pleased to welcome the 2016-17 University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS).

The UMAPS program, launched in 2008 with support from the U-M President’s office, to date has welcomed 119 early career faculty from Ghana, South Africa, Liberia, Uganda, Ethiopia, Cameroon, D.R.C and Tanzania  to campus for a four to six month residency to work with a U-M faculty member for mentorship or collaboration on projects that will help advance their careers. This group, the program’s ninth cohort, includes scholars from Ethiopia who are supported by new funding from the office of the president and provost with the hope of strengthening ties with institutions in Ethiopia.

The UMAPS program encourages each scholar to immerse in university life as they are provided with full access to campus research materials and facilities, and attend seminars, present papers in conferences and workshops to fully engage with U-M faculty and students.  These activities promote lasting scholarly relationships to support ongoing faculty development in Africa and capacity building for their home institutions.

The 2016-17 University of Michigan African Presidential Scholars are:

Fitsum Andargie, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. “Accelerating Computer Vision Using Mobile GP GPUs.”  He will work with Todd Austin, professor of electrical engineering and computer science.

Ian Bekker, North-West University, South Africa. “Phonologisation in South African English.” His mentor is Patrice Beddor, John C. Catford Collegiate Professor of Linguistics.

Dagnachew Belete, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. “The Challenge of River Water Pollution and the Potential for Sustainable Storm Water Management in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.” He will work with Larissa Larsen, associate professor of urban and regional planning, and natural resources.

Thabit Jacob, University of Dodoma, Tanzania. “Large-Scale Investments in Natural Resources and the Return of the State: The Case of Coal in Tanzania (ASRI).” His mentor is Howard Stein, professor of Afroamerican and African studies, and epidemiology.

Samuel Johnson, University of Liberia, Liberia. “Developing Teaching-Learning Modules for General Chemistry at the University of Liberia.” He will work with Brian Coppola, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor of Chemistry.

Priscilla Mante, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. “Investigation of Possible Mechanisms of Action of Cryptolepine Hydrochloride as an Anticonvulsant.” Her mentor is Lori Isom, professor of pharmacology and, molecular and integrative physiology.

Babajide Ololajulo, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. “Crafting Development: Oil Communities and the Politics of Interventions in Nigeria.”  He will work with Omolade Adunbi, associate professor of Afroamerican and African studies.

Hiruy Tefera, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. “A New Paradigm for Museum in Ethiopia.” His mentor is Raymond Silverman, professor of Afroamerican and African studies and, the history of art.

Gerald Walulya, Makerere University, Uganda. “The Press Coverage of Elections in East Africa’s One Party Dominant States: A Comparative Study.” He will work with Joyojeet Pal, assistant professor of information

Netsanet Weldesenbet, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. “Urban Histories and Memories: Memories of Asmara from Ethiopia, 1950s-1970s.” Her mentor is Martin Murray, professor of sociology, and urban planning

Zerihun Workneh, Addis Ababa University, Ethiopia. “Biochar-based Urine Processing for Efficient Nutrient Recovery and Reuse in Agriculture.”  He will work with Nancy Love, professor of civil and environmental engineering; and Johannes Schwank, James and Judith Street Professor of Chemical Engineering.

To learn more about the scholars and the UMAPS program, please see the website:


Media Contact:  Traci Lombre/