Image Credit: Deb Grove
Elshaddai Muchuwa set a goal upon entering his first year of college: Live five lives
in one semester.
“It took me the full year,” the rising Franklin & Marshall sophomore admits, but he
believes that he did just that.
The New Jersey resident originally from Harare, Zimbabwe immediately took up positions
in numerous organizations during his first year, including social media coordinator
for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, events coordinator for the Black
Student Union (BSU), and member of the co-ed a cappella group The Poor Richards.
He also set his sights early on an intended academic path, declaring a major in government
before the end of his first year. Muchuwa’s adviser, Professor Stephanie McNulty,
recruited him for her research on the power of participatory democracy as a Hackman
scholar, conducted after the close of the spring semester.
This summer, Muchuwa is returning to where his academic spirit first blossomed as
an instructor with the Yale Young Global Scholars Program. The program brings together international high school students from over 150 countries
for an immersive pre-college experience emphasizing an open, exploratory and collaborative
approach to learning. Muchuwa participated in the program as a rising senior in high
school and was inspired to return as an alumnus.
“It feels obligatory,” he says about instructing the next cohort of scholars. “[YYGS]
is the reason I am here now.”
Instructors with the YYGS program are selected from a competitive pool of predominantly
Ivy League undergraduate and graduate students. They must propose seminar courses
and construct curricula for the students to engage with in class and group discussions.
Muchuwa is among the few instructors from the class of 2026 and even fewer from a
non-Ivy League school.
“It is a bit intimidating,” he admits. Despite initial hesitation, support and encouragement
from Christian Perry, F&M director of DEI, inspired Muchuwa to make the most of the
Muchuwa is teaching four seminar courses, with topics ranging from “My Hair, My Crown:
Politics Around Black Hair” to “The Democratic Backsliding in the Face of COVID.”
Muchuwa credits McNulty for helping him break down the complexities of the second
He acknowledges that the courses contain some sensitive and potentially controversial
“I wanted to choose topics that are interesting [and may] make people uncomfortable,”
Many of the students in the program come from marginalized groups that are disproportionately
impacted by the issues in question. Even so, Muchuwa hopes to teach the students to
think critically and understand the different sides of these debates before coming
“They’re touchy,” he says about his proposed topics, “but I’m trying to leave [the
students] with questions to start their college journey, rather than answers.”
The range of academic interests Muchuwa pursued during his first year inspired the
variety in his seminars.
“At F&M, I developed a mind of exploration,” says Muchuwa. “No one is doing the same
thing at the same time… that’s the beauty of a liberal arts education.”
Muchuwa knows firsthand how to juggle academic interests; to complement his study
of government, he intends to double major in cognitive science. Muchuwa affirms that
if people had a better understanding of how others think, they would be more open
to diverse viewpoints.
The most important thing Elshaddai Muchuwa hopes to teach the young scholars is moral
empathy and acceptance. “In order to invite others into your world, you’ve got to
open the doors,” he says.
“At F&M, I developed a mind of exploration."— Elshaddai Muchuwa