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MASU: Graduate Research Presentations

Eggers Hall, 341

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The Moynihan Institute’s Maxwell African Scholars Union (MASU) is proud to present MASU graduate student research presentations. Join us for some light refreshments as four of MASU’s previous graduate student research grant recipients, Jane Appiah-Okyere, Matthew D. O'Leary, David Aanuoluwa Okanlawon and Tumbu Ladislaus, share the preliminary results of their resulting research and provide reflections on their field experience. You may preview their research below.

David Aanuoluwa Okanlawon
Ph.D. Student, Anthropology

"European Practices in the Atlantic World: Foodways on Bunce Island, Sierra Leone"


David’s doctoral research investigates the European traders' foodways on Bunce Island, Sierra Leone, during the Atlantic trade. It examines their extent of reliance on local or imported food sources, adaptations to the West African environment, and gender's role in food practices. 


David is in the archaeology doctoral program in the Anthropology Department at Syracuse University. He is interested in the archaeology of West Africa, Africa and the African diaspora, and the Atlantic. 

Jane Appiah-Okyere  
DPS Candidate, Information Management 

"Enhancing Teacher Training in Rural Ghana Using the Internet Backpack"


Jane’s research examines how digital skills and internet access improve teaching and learning in rural Ghana. An internet backpack was used during a teacher professional development workshop to provide internet access, with the objective of enhancing pedagogical practices of rural teachers. The findings showed that internet usage is vital for rural teachers. The findings also emphasized the need for Internet access to bridge urban-rural and other digital divides, and to improve education in rural communities.


Jane is a doctor of professional studies in information management candidate at the iSchool and a functional business analyst at Syracuse University. Her passion is to increase Internet access in rural African communities, to consequently improve digital and Internet usage skills among teachers, and further develop educational advancement and empowerment of students.

Matthew D. O’Leary
Ph.D. Candidate, Anthropology 

"Economic Entanglements in the Atlantic World: Trade & Materiality at Early Modern Abandze, Ghana"

This research at Dutch Fort Amsterdam (1665-1811), one of many fortified European entrepôts on the early modern Gold Coast, helped expand temporal interpretation of this UNESCO World Heritage Site. Excavations at this hilltop fort revealed the foundations of England’s first West African trade-fort and evidence of mid-19th-century occupation.
Matthew D. O’Leary is an anthropology doctoral candidate studying historical archaeology at Syracuse University. His research interests include socio-economic entanglements at fort communities and frontier landscapes in the 17th- and-18th century North Atlantic, with archaeological experience in the American Northeast and coastal West Africa.

Tumbu Ladislaus
M.A. Student, Pan African Studies

"Expro-ration and Extra-Activity in Tanzania's Natural Gas: A Quest for Self-Reliance"


Tanzania's strategic approach to achieving self-reliance through its natural gas resources is growing. Utilizing "expro-ration," a method combining ‘extra-activity’ with exploration, highlights Tanzania's potential to use its abundant gas reserves for energy sufficiency and socioeconomic evolution. This paper examines how natural gas activities link to self-reliance and self-sufficiency.


Tumbu Ladislaus is an M.A. student in Pan African studies. His areas of concentration include political economy, development studies, international relations, Pan-Africanism, energy, and natural resource governance. His work adopts an Afrocentric perspective, examining Tanzania's politics of natural gas and self-reliance.


Research Support





Open to



MAX-Maxwell African Scholars Union, MAX-Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs


Eleanor V Langford


Contact Eleanor V Langford to request accommodations