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Alumni Spotlight

Back in Athens: Luke Kubacki

Luke is seen sitting down in front of his bike.

Luke Kubacki, a 2016 Global Studies- Africa  and Political Science major is back in Athens, and this time to attend medical school.

Hometown: Liminal Space ;)

Languages: English, Portuguese

Countries lived in: USA, Brazil, Angola, Mozambique

Student organizations: I was heavily involved in STAND, the student-led movement to end mass atrocity. I was also involved in the Athens Sierra club and served as a senator-at-large on the undergraduate Student Senate.

What have you been up to since you graduated?

I spent some time in Mozambique with the Peace Corps before moving to Chicago where I returned to school at Northwestern University for their pre-med post-baccalaureate program. Then I did the med school apps and finagled my way into OU-HCOM. I got really into road biking, then COVID hit and I got really into MMORPGs on the internet.

What made you decide to come back?

OU's medical school is well-respected in Ohio and in the midwest in general. As I was looking for med school options, returning to Athens became more and more attractive, especially because some of my Athens community is still intact. The outdoors activity within minutes of Athens (and The Plains, where I live) is really unparalleled in Ohio.

Who were your favorite professors and why?

Dr. Fredette in political science taught post-colonial politics in the most enthusiastic way. Dr. Kendhammer, also in political science/CIS, taught me that it was possible to approach mastery of a topic with the accurate amount of dedication. And Eric LeMay in the English department helped me mold my thinking through nonfiction narrative. If you have an opportunity to take classes with any of them, do it.

What bit of Athens are you happy to come back to?

Strouds Run and Jackie O's beer.

Advice for prospective Global Studies students:

Make your vision specific. It's easy to get caught up in how fun the content of undergraduate courses is, but make sure they're serving a purpose that lies outside of these four years. If you don't have a vision yet, that's fine. That's part of what this is all for. But make sure you're at least working towards developing it. Slightly more practical: develop a familiarity with philosophy. It's a whole language—it requires work and dedication. But it is radically advantageous. We need more people who can navigate the modern world with a sensitive ear to the ontological foundations of whatever is happening that day.


Meet Joshua Okyere, 2021 Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation Scholar

Photo of Joshua, from waiste up. He has his arms crossed. He is wearing a blus suit and a red tie

Joshua Okyere, a 2018 graduate of the African Studies Program and current PhD student in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Manitoba, Canada was recently selected as a 2021 Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s leadership program scholar. Joshua is among fifteen leading doctoral researchers selected from 643 applicants after going through a rigorous selection process of group and individual interviews. We had a chat with Joshua about the fellowship.

So, what will you be doing during the fellowship?

I will embark on a three-year leadership journey with the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation’s Institutes of Engaged Leadership, which is centered on the leadership curriculum, "Building Brave Spaces: The Path to Engaged Leadership." The Foundations Fellows and Mentors will direct and equip me with the needed skills to translate my research into action. I will study French as an official language while familiarizing myself with the Indigenous languages of Canada. Additionally, I will actively volunteer in various communities to become an engaged leader and a public intellectual. I will travel for conferences and research.  

How did the African Studies Program prepare you for Ph.D. and the fellowship?

The African Studies program helped enhance my understanding of the complex and changing contemporary theories, concepts, instruments, principles, and the use of various methodological approaches to research and relevant ethical problems. With that aside, I gained sophisticated insights into different fields due to its interdisciplinarity, which undoubtedly provided me with in-depth knowledge necessary for embracing the world's emerging challenges. It instilled in me the confidence to voice the voiceless and contribute immensely to the community through engagement while analyzing African social and cultural issues.

Do you have any advice for current African Studies and CIS students?

My advice is that nothing is impossible if you so desire to take a step. I admonish all to believe in God and themselves and should not allow anyone to belittle them, but they should be examples and keep brightening every corner they find themselves. If I had listened to naysayers who said I was unfit for a Ph.D., I would not have come this far. Always take a step of faith coupled with hard work, and indeed one day, your star will shine.

What, if anything at all, do you miss about Ohio University and or Athens?

The conducive and serene environment which supports learning. I miss the supportive staff of the university especially the amazing people at the Centre for International Studies. In Athens, I miss the sandwich I used to get from Wendys on Court Street popularly known as $4 for 4 😊.

What are your plans after the fellowship and after your PhD?

Still planning… I hope to come out as a seasoned graduate and leader ready to impact lives and contribute to public policy.

Do you have any final words?

I would like to specifically thank Dr. Steve Howard, Dr. Assan Sarr and Dr. Kingsley Antwi-Boasiako through whom I got the privilege to pursue my masters. Again, my heartiest thanks go to Professor Ghirmai Negash, Dr. Edna Wangui and Dr. Emmanuel Jean-Francois who inspired me to pursue PhD irrespective of the odds against me. I am forever grateful to them for believing in me and encouraging me not to give up. Lastly, I am grateful to my then Assistant Director, Bose Maposa for her unflinching support in all angles that sailed me through successfully. Thank you to everyone at CIS who impacted my life.