Ann Arbor, Mich. (August 22, 2022) – The African Studies Center (ASC) welcomes twelve early and mid-career faculty from universities in Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, and Uganda.

Established in 2009, U-M African Presidential Scholars (UMAPS) has been the University of Michigan’s flagship program for engagement with colleges and universities on the African continent. ASC has since hosted 199 scholars to date representing a wide range of disciplines.

The highly competitive program attracts applications from scholars in all disciplines working at universities and colleges across the African continent. In addition, UMAPS fellows are integrated with the ASC and U-M community, including the home departments of their U-M collaborators.

Samuel Boahen (Ghana) is a lecturer at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana. He holds a PhD in mechanical engineering from Hanbat National University, South Korea. His main research interest involves the design and optimization of energy-efficient heating and cooling systems and the development of test standards and fault detection and diagnosis mechanisms for thermal systems. At U-M, Samuel will be working on developing efficiently integrated crop, irrigation, and energy subsystem models for a community in Ghana using engineering and economic principles. His U-M host is Panos Y. Papalambros (Engineering).

Narh Hargoe (Ghana) is a lecturer of dance studies at the School of Performing Arts and artistic director of the Ghana Dance Ensemble in the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. He received his PhD in ethnomusicology from the University of Cape Coast in Ghana, and his research area is in dance ethnography, aesthetics, semiotics, and performance studies. His current research is on the Klarna ritual dance as a representation of the culture of the Dangme people of Prampram. He will work closely with Christian Matijas-Mecca and Robin Wilson (SMTD) at U-M.

Thembelihle Luthuli (South Africa) is a lecturer at the School of the Built Environment and Development Studies at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her research interests include social epidemiology, population health and indigenous knowledge systems, population dynamics in sub-Saharan Africa, and sustainable development. At U-M, Thembelihle will work with Lindsay Kobayashi (Epidemiology).

Joseph M. Sieka (Liberia) is a lecturer and deputy director for research at the University of Liberia’s Center for Teaching, Learning and Innovation. Dr. Sieka obtained his MD from Liberia’s only medical school and a Master of Medical Sciences degree in global health delivery from the Harvard Medical School. His research project focuses on increasing access and quality of maternal health services using the WhatsApp platform and a specialized triage procedure. His host is Jody Lori (Nursing).

Rodwell Makombe (South Africa) is an associate professor in the Department of English Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of the Free State, South Africa. A rated researcher of the National Research Foundation of South Africa, Rodwell is a 2018-19 fellow of the African Humanities Program Fellowship funded by the American Council of Learned Societies. He received his PhD in literature at the University of Fort Hare in 2012. His research focuses on postcolonial literary studies, social media, and crisis literature. At U-M, he will work on a book project tentatively titled Cultures of Resistance in Post-Mugabe Zimbabwe: Social Media, Comedy and Dissent. Justine Davis (DAAS) will serve as his host.

Anne Jepkemboi (Uganda)  is a lecturer in the Department of History, Archaeology and Heritage Studies at Kyambogo University and a PhD candidate at Makerere University in Uganda. Her UMAPS project focuses on the political economy with emphasis on participation and the relationship between local sugarcane out-grower farmers and sugar cane plantation owners and how this relationship affected socio-economic development in the districts of Jinja and Mayuge in Uganda. Anne’s U-M collaborator is Ellen Poteet (History).

Justine Germo Nzweundji (Cameroon) is a plant biotechnologist affiliated with the Université des Montagnes in Cameroon. She received her PhD from the University of Yaounde in Cameroon. She has been involved in science advice across Africa, and her UMAPS project is on science policy, mapping the STEM undergraduate education in Cameroon. Her U-M collaborator is Nkem Khumbah (Comprehensive Studies Program).

Ann L. Moagi (South Africa) is a PhD candidate and lecturer at the International Relations Department of Political Sciences at the Thabo Mbeki School of Public and International Affairs. Her research interest includes gender studies, Black feminist thought, youth development, race, and political philosophy. She has widely researched and written book chapters on women's studies and African youth development issues. Her U-M host is Raevin Jimenez (History).

Nancy Judith Awori (Kenya) is a tutor at the Department of Media and Communications at the Multimedia University of Kenya, where she also received her BA in film production and animation. She has a master’s in women’s and gender studies from the University of Western Cape in South Africa. While at U-M, she will be working on a research project aimed at exploring the representation of lesbian subjectivities in contemporary Kenyan films, focusing on the film Rafiki by Wanuri Kahiu. Her faculty host is Larry La Fountain-Stokes (American Culture, Romance Languages and Literature, and Women’s and Gender Studies).

Uwitonze Pierre Celestin (Rwanda) is an assistant lecturer in physics and currently undertaking his PhD research in physics education at the University of Rwanda’s College of Education. He received his Master of Sciences in Physics from Rhodes University, South Africa. His research project entitled “Diagnosis and remedies of students’ misconceptions in thermodynamics, a study on secondary students in Rwanda” will inventory students’ misconceptions in thermodynamics and propose a way forward to improve students’ understanding of thermodynamic concepts. His U-M faculty host is Tim McKay (Physics).

Celso Monjane (Mozambique) is an assistant professor in the School of Governance at Joaquim Chissano University in Mozambique and holds a PhD from Roskilde University in Denmark. He has completed postgraduate courses in applied data science at the University of the Witwatersrand and advanced statistical modeling at the 2020 and 2021 ICPSR Summer Program at the University of Michigan. His research interests include the business interests of elites and the political economy of natural resources. At U-M, he will be working with Professor Anne Pitcher (Political Science) on a research project in which they will explore the origins and structure of business groups and the extent of linkages between government, political parties, and business in Mozambique.

Ugochi Adaku Okengwu (Nigeria) is a senior lecturer in computer sciences at the University of Port Harcourt in Nigeria, where she also received her MSc and PhD degrees in computer science. Her research interests are in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data analysis. Her work at U-M will focus on sentiment analysis of climate change trends using deep learning neural networks in the Niger Delta area of Nigeria. Her U-M faculty host is Rada Mihalcea (Computer Science and Engineering).

Funding for UMAPS is provided by the U-M Office of the President, Office of the Provost, the South African Initiatives Office in the Department of Afroamerican and African Studies, and private donors. To learn more about the program, visit


Contact: Omolade Adunbi ( and Teyei Pam (

The African Studies Center (ASC) at the University of Michigan provides strategic guidance and coordination for Africa-related education, research, and training activities on campus and promotes opportunities for collaboration with African partners on the continent. ASC is a member of the International Institute.