Sheridan Gunderson graduated in Spring 2013 with a BA in global affairs and a concentration in the region of Africa. She became interested in African studies because she grew up in Kenya. One of her professors at Mason, Dr. Benedict Carton, recognized her enthusiasm in his African history course and encouraged her to further her studies by applying to the University of Oxford, which she felt was something she could not have done on her own.
Sheridan is currently enrolled in the African Studies Masters Program at Oxford where she studies Swahili. She will be traveling to Kenya to do field work next spring. She is currently researching the economic ramifications of the United Kingdom’s ban on the khat plant on the town of Maua, whose economic lifeblood has come from farming the plant. Khat was classified as a drug and banned in the UK in June 2014, and since the ban, the community of Maua has been hit with the economic reality of the disadvantages of “monocropping.” Sheridan is aiming to pinpoint shifts in the market and explore how former khat farmers are adapting to this new situation.