Radical Research

Portrait of Ashton holding zines he madeIf you wanted to find senior Ashton Thorne this past summer, you might have looked in the Rubenstein Reading Room at Duke University or in two Chicago libraries.

In those libraries and archives, he searched through and scanned thousands of pages of zines — short, self-published works similar to magazines — to research expressions of queercore and transgender representation in the 1980s through the early 2000s.

Queercore is a queer, punk subcultural and social movement that expresses itself through radical and do-it-yourself art and media, explained Thorne in his Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship project proposal.

For nine weeks last summer, Thorne dived into studying every queercore zine he could find in digital archives and libraries across the country as he searched to identify and understand transgender representation in the early publications.

“I ended up getting [copies of] every single issue of the zine that I originally thought I would not be able to read at all,” he said. “So that was very exciting.”

Thorne’s final presentation of his research is an essay in which he analyzes the way that queercore zines interact with politics of transgender liberation and anti-assimilationism. The subject, he says, has an incredible opportunity for expanded research, and he would like to be a part of that.

“Every time I finish writing a paragraph, I’m like, ‘Oh, no. This could be another essay,’” he said with a laugh. “And there’s not a lot of scholarship on queercore in general. So I feel like there’s a lot that I could do.”

Read the complete Carolina Story

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    string(2244) "Portrait of MugishaFidele Mugisha ’21, could have an entirely different story. As a young boy, he experienced the worst of humanity: the slaughter of his people, hopelessness, sadness and fear that can change a person’s heart.

The ongoing civil war against his tribe, the Banyamulenge (Congolese Tutsi) meant his family was always on the run. When Mugisha was just 9, he and his parents and younger siblings lived near the Gatumba Refugee Camp near Bujumbura, the capital of Burundi, with their people.

The Forces for National Liberation massacred more than 166 civilian Banyamulenge and wounded another 106 at the camp on Aug. 13, 2004. The trauma for Mugisha was profound but he dared to dream of a different life.

In 2015, Mugisha and his family arrived in Durham, North Carolina. During their first month, as the oldest of nine children, he went to work to help support his family, vacuuming cars at a car wash and mowing a golf course.

Through the Carolina Student Transfer Excellence Program (C-STEP) for high-achieving community-college students, Mugisha was able to graduate from Durham Technical Community College before moving to Carolina for his next step in higher education.

He earned the Carolina Covenant, which covered his full financial needs through grants, scholarships and work-study, and he successfully enrolled in UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School. Mugisha is now an ISG investment pricing analyst with Lenovo in Morrisville, North Carolina.

Never forgetting his past, Mugisha performs community service by mentoring and tutoring young refugees. Faith – in God and God-given gifts – is what has taken Mugisha from that tragic day at the refugee camp to UNC Kenan-Flagler alumnus.

“I’ve learned honestly to forgive and love people,” he said. “When they do me wrong, I genuinely choose to love them because that’s what God asks us to do.

Read more about Mugisha’s journey to Carolina and success as an alumnus…"
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Kate Golson and Fareeda Akewusola at a Carolina basketball game. (courtesy of Fareeda Akewusola)
Honors Carolina advisory board co-chair Brian Golson and his wife, Alisa, endowed the Golson Family Honors Carolina Scholarship as a recruiting tool for extraordinary students. The inaugural recipient is Fareeda Akewusola ‘26, a first-year student from Houston, Texas, who had a choice of more than a dozen prestigious universities. She had narrowed the field to Carolina and the University of Chicago, both of which offered full-ride scholarships. After visiting both, she said yes to Carolina on the spot. She knew studying abroad was a must. She plans to declare neuroscience as her major and is applying for a neuropharmacology study abroad program in Australia in summer 2023. Outside the classroom, Akewusola can rattle off a diverse list of activities she’s involved in — including the campus jiu-jitsu and wrestling clubs, the pre-health fraternity Alpha Epsilon Delta and the One Africa student organization. She and the Golsons regularly stay in touch, and she has become friends with their daughter Kate, who is a sophomore at Carolina. “Most scholarships don’t come with relationships with donors and senior faculty,” said Akewusola. “It’s significant that I have an extended family here who I can talk with about anything.” The Golsons are thrilled that their gift was instrumental in attracting Akewusola to Carolina. Having a hand in enticing exceptional students to attend Carolina is incredibly rewarding, “and selfishly, we want them at UNC,” Alisa Golson said. 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