University of Notre Dame senior Kendra Lyimo will study in the United Kingdom next year as a member of the Marshall Scholars class of 2024. Lyimo is the 11th Marshall Scholar in Notre Dame’s history. With the award, she will continue her education in London, with a focus on the art of the African diaspora.
“My goal as a Marshall Scholar is to understand the diverse contexts and interests of artists spanning the U.S. and the U.K. while conducting accessible, global-oriented research that will feed into my future doctoral research,” Lyimo said.
In applying for the scholarship, Lyimo worked closely with the Flatley Center for Undergraduate Scholarly Engagement (CUSE), which promotes the intellectual development of Notre Dame undergraduates through scholarly engagement, research, creative endeavors and the pursuit of fellowships.
Emily Buika Hunt is assistant director of scholarly development with CUSE.
“I am so happy to congratulate Kendra on her selection as a 2024 Marshall Scholar,” Hunt said. “Kendra is an extraordinary young scholar and individual who strives to share her passion for contemporary African art with the world. I’d like to thank the faculty and staff across Notre Dame who supported Kendra during the application and interview process.”
“Congratulations to Kendra Lyimo and her family on this wonderful accomplishment,” University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., said. “Kendra’s interdisciplinary scholarship and global perspective make her an ideal recipient of this prestigious award. She represents the very best of Notre Dame.”
A first-generation college student from a working-class background, Lyimo is an art history major and Africana and Italian studies minor from Minnesota. Inspired by the art of her father’s native Tanzania, she has distinguished herself as a serious scholar of East African art and identity and the art of the African diaspora during her time at Notre Dame.
A Beinecke Scholar and 2024 Rhodes finalist, Lyimo is a research assistant and gallery teacher at the Raclin Murphy (formerly Snite) Museum of Art.
“I seek to understand the stories of contemporary African diasporic artists and advocate for their political, social and cultural concerns, which may implicate the U.K. and the U.S. The extraordinary work and distinct perspectives of these diasporic artists can help nations like the U.K. and the U.S. understand how our world is connected, what the diaspora means for individuals’ national identities, and where these communities need support.”
Additionally, she has served as a research assistant in the Department of Art, Art History and Design and as an undergraduate research fellow with the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study, where she assisted Mary Phillips, institute fellow and an associate professor of Africana studies at Lehman College, with a biography of Black activist and educator Ericka Huggins. She also assisted Tatiana Reinoza, assistant professor of art history, with the creation and curation of “All My Ancestors: The Spiritual in Afro-Latinx Art” at the Brandywine Workshop and Archives in Philadelphia.
Lyimo’s studies have also taken her abroad.
As a Rome International Scholar, she researched expressions of multicultural identity in the work of contemporary Afro-Italian artists through the Notre Dame Rome Global Gateway. She researched contemporary Irish designers through the Notre Dame Dublin Global Gateway. And she explored art in Kenya and Tanzania with support from a Gero Family Travel Grant from the Department of Art, Art History and Design.
On the volunteer side of things, Lyimo serves as a tutor with the Notre Dame Robinson Community Learning Center and as an academic peer mentor with the Building Bridges Mentoring Program, part of Multicultural Student Programs and Services.
“I seek to understand the stories of contemporary African diasporic artists and advocate for their political, social and cultural concerns, which may implicate the U.K. and the U.S.,” she said of the focus of her studies. “The extraordinary work and distinct perspectives of these diasporic artists can help nations like the U.K. and the U.S. understand how our world is connected, what the diaspora means for individuals’ national identities, and where these communities need support.”
As a Marshall Scholar, Lyimo plans to pursue a master’s degree in the history of design from the Victoria and Albert Museum and Royal College of Art in London, along with a master’s degree in African studies from SOAS University of London. Post-scholarship, she intends to pursue a doctorate in art history with a focus on the art of the African diaspora. Career-wise, she plans to work as a professor or curator.
“In the future, I envision my role, whether that be in the context of a university or a museum, to be that of someone who can facilitate international conversation about diversified, Afro-diasporic art and artists as a way of challenging traditional conceptions of identity and art history,” she said.
While Lyimo is the University’s only 2024 Marshall recipient, two others — senior Dane Sherman (philosophy and psychology) and alumna Elsa Barron (class of 2021) — were finalists for the award. Lyimo was among four Notre Dame finalists for the 2024 Rhodes Scholarship, the others being Sherman, senior Annika Barron (global affairs and neuroscience and behavior) and alumna Cate Prather (class of 2022). Senior Bupe Lughano Kabaghe (global affairs and political science) was short-listed for the Zambia Rhodes.
Founded in 1954 to commemorate the Marshall Plan, the Marshall Scholarships support Americans of exceptional ability to pursue graduate-level studies in the U.K., covering university fees, cost of living, research and thesis grants and travel to and from the U.S., among other expenses.
For more on this and other scholarship opportunities, visit cuse.nd.edu.
Originally published by news.nd.edu on December 11, 2023.at