The Pipeline Project

A woman stands next to a sign for the NCOBPS Reception, indicating it will be held on March 14, 2024, with event details and a note about refreshments and networking opportunities.
Lizamishel Boateng attended the 2024 annual meeting of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists in Los Angeles, CA from Mar 13-17.

The “Pipeline Project” is a feeder program that promotes various pathways to graduate and professional school, involving 1:1 faculty pairings with undergraduate students

The Africana Studies Institute and its core faculty are committed to the professional development and academic success of UConn students. As life-transformative educators, we are hands-on mentors and career advisors who provide high touch service. Our students secure purposeful employment, competitive, merit-based fellowships, summer research experiences, legislative internships, best paper awards, travel grants, etc.










Apprenticing many of whom are first-generation college students, ASI faculty have helped countless students visualize their own professional goals. Considerable research shows that improving equitable access to norms, soft skills, and informal knowledge via mentoring relationships are effective ways of improving parity in career trajectories.

Applying to graduate or professional school is becoming an increasingly common expectation and, in some cases, a requirement for certain career fields. Writing a personal statement and completing the application process is a time consuming and not always intuitive process. The skills needed to write a grant proposal and conduct independent research, with a good chance of success, are usually taught informally and by a mentor.

Meet the Next Generation of Civic Leaders and Role Models

Africana studies faculty are among the most sought out by Black students seeking mentors like themselves with whom they share similar experiences. This process of finding a mentor is not limited to faculty members’ home department or Africana studies, but extends across departments, schools, and colleges at the University.

“Evelyn Simien is a political science and Africana studies professor that I connected with instantly. She’s helped me every step of the way, even when I needed help with things that weren’t in her discipline. She was the first black teacher I ever had and was the first to make me believe I could pursue a Ph.D. Watching her in class my freshman year, seeing how she commanded the classroom and engaged her class, put me in awe. I kept thinking I want to do that!”

—Charity Whitehead, Psychology major, Africana Studies minor, UConn Class of 2016

The Africana Studies Institute has made significant strides in developing an excellent group of undergraduates, diversifying graduate programs, and various sectors of the workforce. As a result of Africana studies’ challenging curriculum, quality instruction, and intensive mentoring, our mentees have gone to the highest ranked professional and graduate schools in the United States. While many of our students elect to pursue post-graduate studies, others commit to a year of service as with a Fullbright or go straight into the workforce.

“I learned so much throughout your [Professor Fumilayo Showers] class. And it was particularly special to me that you were the one who taught it. You are the first Black woman who’s taught me in class at the University, and I really appreciated being your student. Through your class I solidified my interest in health and health outcomes and am considering looking further into ways to integrate this into my areas of interest regarding careers.”

—Hannah Ravenell, Political Science major, UConn Class of 2023

 Meet Our Pipeline Graduates

We’re proud of our 100+ alumni and their accomplishments. Our students excel in a variety of exciting careers in law, education, student affairs, public health, etc. Get to know some of our recent alumni and learn more about where their education has taken them.

Pipeline Alumni

Dae'Zhane Boland

Dae-Zhane Boland, Class of 2019

MPH, University of Connecticut, 2020

Hometown: Waterbury, CT

Current position: Doctoral Student in Community Health Sciences at the University of California-Los Angeles

Sydney Carr

Sydney Carr, Class of 2018

MA, Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2023

Hometown: Hamden, CT

Current position: Assistant Professor of Political Science at College of the Holy Cross

Tyrese Fenty

Tyrese Fenty, Class of 2021

M.Ed. University of Maryland-College Park, 2023

Hometown: East Hartford, CT

Current position: Program Coordinator of Learning and Development in the Do Good Institute at the University of Maryland

Megan Handau

Megan Handau, Class of 2018

Hometown: New Fairfield, CT

Current position: Yale Law School, 2L

Mason Holland

Mason Holland, Class of 2023

Hometown: Hackensack, New Jersey

Current position: MA student in Political Science at University of Michigan

Aaron Hooker

Aaron Hooker, Class of 2021

M.Ed. University of Maryland-College Park, 2023

Hometown: Hartford, CT

Current position: Program Advisor for the Hartford/Storrs UConn ConnCAP Program

Odia Kane

Odia Kane, Class of 2020

Hometown: New Haven, Connecticut

Current Position: PhD candidate and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Trainee studying Health Policy and Management with a concentration in Bioethics at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.


Leann Mclaren, Class of 2019

MA, Duke University, 2022

Hometown: Manchester, CT

Current position: Ph.D. Candidate in Political Science at Duke University

Oak Leaf

Aden Abbatemarco, Class of 2021

MA in Intersectional Indigeneity, Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, UConn, 2023

Hometown: Mansfield, CT

Current position: Adjunct Instructor for WGSS, UConn-Stamford