Updated: Jan 19
A year ago to the day, I launched the social media for Black Women in International Affairs (BWINTAF) and casually grew from there. I started BWINTAF from a desire to see more Black American women in the field of International Affairs, create connections and build a network, however, the goal has always been to implement programming so that Black people can become active and engaged stakeholders in the international political arena. Black Americans, American referring to Black people throughout the Americas, should speak, lead and advocate for ourselves within international politics. I knew that this would be a lengthy process but I was and still am committed to see this vision through, and with the addition of three Board Members I know that our mission will be achieved! Each board member brings a diverse and necessary background and skillset that will be instrumental in the initial upstart and longevity of BWINTAF programming and outreach efforts.
Meet the BWINTAF Board of Directors
Dr. Katherine Hilson
Katherine is a sociologist and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Carthage College. She specializes in critical criminology and police studies with a focus on power and inequality. She was born in Milwaukee, WI where her lived experiences serve as the foundation of her research interests. As a first-generation, working-class, Black woman raised in the most segregated city in the nation, she finds it her duty and honor to study the forces that create and reproduce inequality for disadvantaged communities. Katherine's research interests meet at the intersection of race, gender, crime, class, and social movements. Specifically, she is interested in how the police, criminal justice systems, and mass incarceration work in concert to protect and reproduce social inequality. At the same time, she emphasizes the ways in which members of marginalized populations individually and collectively resist aggressive and punitive policing. Katherine earned her B.A. from Emory University in sociology and African American studies. She holds an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology with a Black Studies emphasis from the University of California-Santa Barbara.
A native of Denver, Colorado, Kayla Tolbert has a worldly education and professional experience in international relations. After obtaining a B.A. in Political Science and Arabic Language, she completed a Master’s in International Relations from American University in Washington, DC. She has completed several State Department programs including the Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship in the United Arab Emirates and David L. Boren Fellowship in Jordan. Through these fellowships, Ms. Tolbert has completed studies in Modern Standard Arabic and Middle Eastern studies. In her professional endeavors, Ms. Tolbert has held multiple roles with international organizations, including the IMF and Islamic Relief, focused on administrative processes, project management, congressional affairs, and economic development. Her interests in international affairs are focused on global security with an emphasis in post-war transitions, climate crisis, food security and ethnic marginalization.
Angel Smith has worked as the Health Equity and Community Engagement Specialist for the Maternal Child Health (MCH) Program at the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) for 2 ½ years. Angel leads CDPHE’s new MCH priority- Reducing Racial Inequities and serves as an expert for Colorado’s (COVID-19) Crisis Standards of Care Community Engagement subgroup. Angel was also a Center for Disease Control and Prevention fellow, helping local public health agencies integrate equity into its MCH breastfeeding priority. Angel facilitates critical conversations with people in the public health arena regarding the intersections of identities and health. Angel will be attending Rice University this fall as a Master of Arts in Global Affairs Candidate where she will minor in International Security. She plans to use this opportunity to further unpack the relationship between, health, security, and international law. Angel is a Colorado native with bachelor’s degrees in political science and international studies from Colorado State University.