Africa Institute Graduate Committee (AIGC)

The Africa Institute Graduate Committee (AIGC) of Western University, is a graduate student-led committee comprising of Masters and Doctoral students from an interdisciplinary background who are conducting or interested in conducting research within the African context. The AIGC provides a space for students to develop their research, enhance their student experience, contribute to important discussions and strive to solve key challenges facing the African continent.

The committee serves students across many faculties and programs with educational and learning opportunities to engage with other students both at Western and with African partners who share a common interest in collaborative work. This is achieved through speaker series and workshops, social events, blogging, ambassador programs, and funding to support research initiatives, knowledge translation and dissemination to mention a few. The committee also formally advises the Africa Institute’s steering committee to better meet the needs of graduate students.

Ultimately, the AIGC hopes to foster a broader perspective and understanding of Africa, encouraging Western University students to take an active interest and become critically engaged in supporting initiatives for sustainable change.

We are always looking for new members so we encourage you to reach out for more information! Please contact Uche Ikenyei, if you would like to get involved!

Executive Members 


Image of Uche IkenyeiUche Ikenyei

Uche Ikenyei is a first year Ph.D. student in the Health Information Science (HIS) department of Western University. He has over 12 years experience working as a monitoring and evaluation (M&E) expert in HIV and AIDs, maternal and child health, malaria, family planning and reproductive health development assistance programs in Nigeria. His last place of work was with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). He worked as the M&E Specialist for the Health Population and Nutrition (HPN) office and was responsible for managing USAID funded Health Management Information Strengthening (HMIS) projects in addition to providing technical support to USAID funded projects and the Nigerian Ministry of Health Nigeria on M&E and HMIS related activities.


Image of Siera Vercillo.Siera Vercillo

Siera Vercillo is a PhD Candidate and Lecturer in the Geography Department at Western University and a Queen Elizabeth II Scholar with the Africa Institute. Her research interests include gender, food security, agriculture, development and political-ecology in sub-Saharan Africa and her dissertation research is focused in northern Ghana. She has been published on a number of topics, including biotechnology policy and discourse, youth migration and food security, violence against women, and health policy and service access. She has also worked in agriculture development practice for a number of years across West Africa focused on extension and farming group development. Follow her blog here and contact her at


Image of Akuah Frempong.Akuah Frempong

My name is Akuah Frempong and I am proud to be the Secretary of the African Institute Graduate Committee this year! I am currently enrolled in the Management of Applied Science Global Health System in Africa stream and I hope to enact public health policy using an intersectional sense to improve the health outcomes of vulnerable populations in health systems around the world. My interests outside of the classroom include social justice, politics, movies, food, laughter and everything in between. If you have any questions, comments or concerns feel free to email me at



Blog Competition Sub-Committee

Image of Sloan KudrinkoSloan Kudrinko

Sloan Kudrinko is a Master’s of Management of Applied Sciences (MMASc) Candidate, specializing in Global Health Systems in Africa at Western University. Prior to this, she completed a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology at the University of Windsor while playing for the Women’s Varsity Hockey team. During Sloan’s undergraduate degree, she realized that she wanted to increase her understanding of developing countries with the goal of creating new business strategies to help them grow and develop. Sloan aspires to improve global health systems in developing countries while utilizing a transdisciplinary approach to educate youth on different aspects of health. Sloan is also very interested in studying and improving healthcare and the well-being of vulnerable populations in general with a specific focus on women and children issues. Sloan’s main area of interest is oral health and hygiene and she plans to focus her future studies on the underlying cause and education regarding oral health and how it can relate to one’s overall health.

Image of Dyana WilkinsonDyana Wilkinson

Dyana Wilkinson, born in the Yukon, completed her Undergraduate degree at Daystar University, Kenya, East Africa in 2010. Throughout her undergraduate career, Dyana conducted research and attempted to understand nepotism in politically unstable communities. Upon completion of her degree, Dyana trained and became a birth coach, providing post-partum support for women living in poverty. With major interest in educating women about stages of gestation, labour and safe deliveries in remote areas in the world; she is pursuing research opportunities in Africa. Dyana is a current master’s student in the Masters of Management of Applied Sciences (MMASc) field, specializing in Global Health Systems in Africa. 
Dyana's research priorities are to encourage healthy births and prenatal and postnatal care for women living in poverty. Her goal is to help reduce maternal deaths and infant mortality rates in impoverished regions.

Image of Yvette KabambaYvette Kabamba

My name is Yvette Kabamba, a candidate in the Master of Management of Applied Sciences (MMASc), specializing in Global Health Systems in Africa at Western University. I graduated from Guelph University in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences. Upon graduation, I worked in Ottawa for a global infant nutrition company for two years while volunteering with the Aids Committee of Ottawa (ACO) along with other organizations. While at ACO, I partnered with faculty from Ottawa University to work on a tri-city community-based participatory research aimed at informing health policies for women living with HIV. I also facilitated discussions and participated in education campaigns about the virus within the community. Within the African context, I am mainly interested in health service provision, delivery and coverage, ensuring that members of society have access to healthcare. Given our learnings so far, it is evident that I will first have to learn how to effectively address the multi-faceted issues that intersect with health systems before working towards making healthcare affordable and accessible to low income persons. As the population grows and health inequities persist, it is becoming increasingly important to address these issues while we still can.

Conversations with Africa: Blog Competition 2018

Conversations with Africa is a two-way dialogue between students at Western and students studying on the African continent meant to share ideas, engage with valuable initiatives, and meet challenges. Students write about a key issue or topic based on their expertise, research or experiences with Africa. 

Find out more about the submission criteria and check out the blog here