Current MA Students

Students (left to right): Alexander Killen, Nikita Bernardi, Joseph Guido, and Etienne Mashuli



Nikita Bernardi graduated from the School of Oriental and African Studies in London with a BA in Chinese and Politics in 2012. She was born and grew up in Kenya and has always been fascinated by the delicate political intricacies that characterise Kenyan politics. Her decision to study Mandarin Chinese lead her to live for almost two years in Beijing where she worked for a Chinese SOE in the African Trade department. She is particularly interested in Africa's growing relationship with China and the consequences, both positive and negative, that this relationship has for security, politics and the environment throughout the continent as a whole. At Yale, Nikita plans to continue exploring the deep-rooted and sometimes confusing connection between the people and the state as well as the complexities involved in creating successful democracies where intense donor and foreign interests dictate an increasing number of policies.


Joseph Guido graduated from the United States Military Academy in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in International History. He has worked in the government and private sectors across the spectrum of conflict over the past 14 years in a wide variety of roles and locations to include Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and the Balkans. Joe, as a US Army Foreign Area Officer with a regional specialization in Africa, has most recently served at the US Embassy in Djibouti as the chief of security cooperation and has also served in Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mauritania. He intends on deepening his understanding of security and defense issues in Africa as a MacMillan and Kenneth R. Miller Jr. Fellow while focusing on the Touareg peoples of the Sahara.


Alexander Killen graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 2014 with a major in History and a minor in Gender Studies. At Notre Dame, he was the recipient of several grants and fellowships, including the Kellogg Institute for International Studies' Experiencing the World Fellowship, which allowed him to spend 7 months in Kampala, Uganda. There he conducted independent research on the history of the Ugandan hip-hop community. The research culminated in his senior thesis, titled A Mic for the Marginalized: Gender, Generation and Ugandan Hip-Hop, which explored the history of music in Uganda and the ways that contemporary hip-hop is a local response to gendered and generational disenfranchisement. At Yale, he hopes to concentrate in history with specific focus on East African social history.


Etienne Mashuli graduated from North Central College where he majored in political science. As a sophomore, Etienne was awarded the Richter fellowship enabling him to travel to Uganda where he interviewed Congolese refugees. He was a research assistant at Michigan State in 2011 and at the University of Michigan the following year. Etienne is recipient of the prestigious Soros fellowship for New Americans and a senior fellow with Humanity in Action.