African American & African Studies Alumni

AAS Alumni: Where are they Now?

There are hundreds of alumni of the AAS program at the University of Virginia and each has taken what they learned through the AAS curriculum and applied that to their own personal and public lives.

Over the years, we have been asked many times, “What can I do with an AAS degree?” Take a look at some of these responses from our faculty and fellows here.


Below are some of our Graduates

Joshua Adams

African American and African Studies 2012 Graduate

Mr. Joshua Adams is an arts & culture journalist with B.A. in African American Studies and a M.A. in Journalism from USC. Before grad school, he worked as a journalism instructor in the Division Street 2013 program for Young Chicago Authors, a non-profit focusing on youth empowerment through performance art. Joshua currently works as a freshman English teacher at Urban Prep Englewood. His writings often explain current and historical cultural phenomenon through personal narratives. Writing and Music are his biggest passions, connecting the dots is his life goal. He has had work published on, has been a guestblogger for HuffPost, has pieces aggregated by The Root, and more. He has also interned at HipHopDX, the world's largest website for Hip Hop news.

These are links to some of his published works:

Jennifer Bowles

African American and African Studies 2014 Graduate

Ms. Jennifer Bowles was elected to the Martinsville, Virginia City Council on November 4, 2014, the youngest individual ever to have been chosen by that city's voters and only the second African American woman to be elected to that office. She began her four year term on January 1, 2015.  After taking her oath of office she was elected Vice-Mayor for a two year term. Jennifer is a member of the West Piedmont District Planning Commission and founder  of the Martinsville chapter of the Millennials and is one of the key players in the region's politics. 

Emily Draper

African American and African American Studies 2010 Graduate


Emily Draper is an Advancement Associate at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC), the Smithsonian’s newest museum in Washington, DC. She first came to the museum as an intern following her graduation from U.Va in 2010, and has continued to work for the past six years as a key member of the team that has raised more than $300M in private support for NMAAHC prior to its opening in September 2016. Emily has also continued her involvement with the University since graduating in 2010, serving on the UVA Club of DC board and as a Reunions Co-Chair for her class. She enjoys volunteering for Girls on the Run and mentoring through a local girls empowerment program in DC.

Tomika Ferguson

African American and African American 2007 Graduate

Dr. Tomika Ferguson is the Director of Community Partnerships at James Madison University. In this role, she oversees a number of programs at JMU,  and develops and strengthens partnerships with businesses, professional associations, K-12 schools and community organizations. She is passionate about expanding access to higher education for students of color, those from low-income households, student-athletes and students who will be the first in their family to attend college. She speaks to students in grades K-12 and their families, higher education professionals and community organizations about how to prepare for, be successful in, and graduate from college. She utilizes her personal experiences as a first-generation college student from a rural community, relevant research, my academic and professional experiences to demystify the ways students can be confident in themselves, identify and articulate their strengths, and be successful to accomplish their goals. Dr. Ferguson holds advanced degrees in Education, Higher Education Administration and Student Affairs from the University of Indiana, Bloomington.  She is a board member of Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County and in her first year following her graduation from U.Va., she was a College Adviser with the Virginia College Adviser Corps.

Adom Getachew

African American and African Studies 2009 Graduate

Adom Getachew is the Neubauer Family Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago, beginning July 2016. She holds a joint PhD in Political Science and African-American Studies from Yale University. Her research interests are situated in the history of political thought, with specialized interests in international law, theories of empire and race, black political thought and post-colonial political theory.

Adom’s current project, “The Rise and Fall of Self-Determination,” excavates and reconstructs an account of self-determination offered in the political thought of Nnamdi Azikiwe, W.E.B Du Bois, Kwame Nkrumah, Eric Williams, Julius Nyerere and Michael Manley during the height of decolonization in the twentieth century. Drawing on archival research in Barbados, Ghana, Switzerland, Trinidad and the United Kingdom, the project illustrates how these anti-colonial critics, intellectuals and statesmen reinvented the concept of self-determination as a project of world-making in which they reconceived international political and economic relations.

During the 2015-2016 academic year, she will be a Provost Career Enhancement Postdoctoral Scholar at the University of Chicago.

LaTasha Levy

African American and African American Studies 2000 Graduate

We are grateful that Dr. LaTasha Levy was in residence here at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for three academic years. While many of our students have had the benefit of her instruction during that time, many do not realize that she is a graduate of U.Va.'s AAS program or that she directed the Luther P. Jackson Black Cultural Center. From 2001-2004 Dr. Levy served as the Interim Assistant Dean of UVA's Office of African American Affairs, and Director of the Luther P. Jackson Black Cultural Center. During her tenure, Dr. Levy was responsible for reinstating the university's Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration; founding the Black Leadership Institute; and After teaching humanities at the Maya Angelou Public Charter School, Dr. Levy went on to earn a M.P.S. in Africana Studies at Cornell University and a Ph.D. in African American Studies from Northwestern University. We will miss her very much when she leaves to begin her new tenure-track position in American Ethnic Studies at the University of Washington.

Kristen Lucas

African American and African American Studies 2009 Graduate

Ms. Kristen Lucas works as a Family Services Associate with Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville, where she has connected potential partner families, family advocates, donors and community stakeholders since January 2013. She is a certified Housing Counselor through the Virginia Association of Housing Counselors. Before working with Habitat for Humanity, Ms. Lucas served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Costa Rica.

J.T. Roane

African American and African American Studies 2008 Graduate

J.T. Roane is the McPherson/Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Africana Studies at Smith College. He received his PhD in 2016 from Columbia University in History and is also a 2008 alumnus of the Carter G. Woodson Institute at the University of Virginia. Roane is primarily interested in questions of place in relation to black histories and is currently at work on a manuscript titled “Sovereignty in the City: Black Infrastructures and the Politics of Place in Twentieth Century Philadelphia.” The manuscript charts the history of two very different visions for social affiliation and obligation, black vitality and sanitized citizenship, and the ways they shaped Philadelphia—a primary testing ground for urban policies, sociological and historical inquiry, and social experiments of reform up through the twenty-first century. Specifically, Roane sets modes of alternative land stewardship and governance from Philadelphia’s black working class communities in contrast with the urbicidal practices of reformers who worked to enhance the profitability of the region at the expense of black and working class neighborhoods between 1940 and 1991. Roane is also at work on a second book project about changing land usage, environmental destruction, and black social activism in rural Tidewater Virginia.