Afia Ofori-Mensa

Director, Presidential Scholars Program

Afia Ofori-Mensa joined the Office of the Dean of the College in 2019 as the inaugural Director of the Presidential Scholars Program (PSP). The PSP is a three-year PhD resource and readiness program for undergraduates from underrepresented and underserved populations in all fields and disciplines of academia. The program is a regional partnership that hosts cohorts at Princeton University, The College of New Jersey, and Rutgers University campuses at Camden, New Brunswick, and Newark.

As Director of PSP, Afia leads program design and implementation efforts centrally at Princeton and coordinates the program across the five campuses. Her work focuses on program development, curricular design, and student success for PSP, along with providing advising and support for undergraduates at Princeton interested in pursuing PhDs.

Afia came to Princeton from Oberlin College, where she initially held a postdoctoral fellowship in Comparative American Studies and Africana Studies before going on to serve as Assistant Professor, Director of Undergraduate Research, and Assistant Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences. She earned her BA in English from the University of Pennsylvania, where she was a recipient of the Mellon Minority Undergraduate Fellowship. She earned her MA and PhD in American Culture from the University of Michigan. Her research interests explore relationships among gender, race, and national identity in the 20th- and 21st-century US, with a focus on beauty pageantry. She has had media mentions and interviews on BuzzFeed, New Hampshire Public Radio, and NPR.