Meet the Majors

Rosie Poku ’22

Africana Studies and Comparative World Literatures

About Rosie

Class of 2022

Hometown: Needham, MA

Africana Studies and Comparative World Literatures

House: Hashimy D (Friedman)

Other clubs, sports, activities:
SIKOS (Smith improv comedy), Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, Get Fit Smith instructor

Describe your majors for someone who has never heard of your fields before.
Africana Studies is the study of Blackness, both rooted in Africa and its global diaspora. It is an interdisciplinary field, and at Smith, students can choose to specialize in literature and cultural studies, social science, Black women's studies, history or diasporic studies within the major.

Comparative World Literatures is a major that allows you to study global texts. With this major, you are able to read and analyze literature written in myriad languages from all over the world.

What was your favorite class outside of your majors?
I've taken quite a few foreign languages at Smith, and I've really enjoyed those classes—especially Intro French first year. I entered Smith knowing English and Spanish, and I'm graduating with an ability to read, speak, and write in English, Spanish, French and Portuguese. Though my language courses have for the most part been outside of the Africana major, I still in many ways have been able to connect them to my studies of Blackness. These language skills have helped me to read Black literature from around the world, so I'm not limited to Afro-diasporic texts only written in English.

No matter what I do, I know that I will always center Blackness in my work.

What’s your “Big Dream” for your future?
I want to continue studying global Blackness and Black literatures, which is why I’m very excited that I’ll be entering a Ph.D. program after graduation that will allow me to do so. After graduate school, I’m not completely sure yet what I’ll want to do, but I love the idea of being a university administrator or dean. I want to help make universities and academia more accessible and equitable. No matter what I do though, I know that I will always center Blackness in my work.

What spot on campus will you miss the most?
The New Neilson is really such an awesome space, and I wish I had more time to be able to use it. I'll also miss my Friedman apartment and, of course, my friends who live in it.

If you could tell an incoming first-year anything about Smith, what would it be?
Don't be afraid to go to your professors' office hours and make connections. So many professors are generous with their time, advice, and support, and they want to help you succeed at Smith. Their mentorship can be so valuable. Also, you should come to SIKOS shows.