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Pamela phdI Am A Researcher

Dr. Pamela Nwakanma

UC San Diego Major and Graduation Year: International Studies/Economics, 2014

Graduate Degrees: PhD in political science from the Department of Government - Harvard University, 2022

URH Programs: McNair

What did you research while in the McNair Program? As a McNair scholar, I researched the long run-effects of British and French colonialism on social, economic, and political development in Africa and the MiddleEast.

How did your experience in the McNair Program help you on your journey? It introduced me to the world of research and the possibility of pursuing an academic career. Between the GRE prep, faculty guidance, conference experiences, and friendships that were formed through the program, I can say that McNair was very foundational for my career.

What are you doing now? I recently completed my PhD in 2022 and I am now a postdoctoral fellow with the American Council for Learned Societies.

What is exciting about what you do professionally, in general or with what you're working on right now? I am excited to continue my academic work as I transition into a faculty position in the near future, but I am currently doing a unique postdoc that bridges the gap between academia and practice. Through the ACLS Leading Edge fellowship, I serve as the research coordinator for the non-profit, People Powered. I hope to bring the insights from this experience into my pedagogy, research, and service.

Any tips for success for current undergraduate researchers? Enjoy the process; Allow yourself to make mistakes and keep seeking help even for things that are seemingly "stupid questions"- this is where the real learning happens! Also, don't believe the limiting idea that research is a solitary process- there are elements of isolation, but there are also elements of collaboration and community building- be intentional about building community with folks and allow the research journey to be a  creative process- the journey can be joyful, one just has to be intentional about cultivating joy in and through the ups and downs of the process.

Select Recent Academic Publications (more here and here)

Pamela holding an awardNwakanma, Adaugo Pamela. 2022. "Theorizing Justice from the Margins: Black Feminist Insights on Political (Protest) BehaviorPolitics, Groups, and Identities

Nwakanma, Adaugo Pamela. 2022. "From Black Lives Matter to EndSARS: Women's Socio-political Power and the Transnational Movement for Black Lives" Perspectives on Politics | {Society for the Study of Social Problems Global Division Student Paper Award Winner, 2022}

Nwakanma, Adaugo Pamela. 2021. "On Scholarship and the Hyphenated African Identity" in African Scholars and Intellectuals in the North American Academy: Reflections of Exile and Migration. London: Routledge

Nwakanma, Adaugo Pamela. 2020. "Women, Entrepreneurship, and Economic Development in Africa". in Yacob-Haliso O., Falola T. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of African Women's Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham | {American Political Science Association Best Graduate Student Paper on Entrepreneurship and Inclusion, 2019}


Select Awards

Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for the study of women in politics

National Science Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Improvement Grant - American Political Science Association. 

Read More

To read more about Dr. Nwakanma's research, accomplishments, and to see field research photos, visit Dr. Nwakanma's website.