Lydia Koku is originally from Toronto, Canada by way of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. As a junior at Swarthmore, she is currently pursuing an Honors special major in Sociology and Educational Studies with a course minor in Psychology. Lydia's academic and personal interests explore sociological explanations for a wide array of traumatic experiences that African American youth face, as well as subsequent mental health implications. This past summer, Lydia served the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education as a Research Assistant for the Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race (EMBRace) project -- a seven-week therapeutic intervention designed to assist local Black parents and their children communicate about their experiences of racial trauma and stress and adopt successful coping strategies for future encounters. Though she is currently studying racial trauma, she later hopes to address issues of interpersonal violence (sexual assault, gun violence, etc.) from a sociological lens. Ultimately, as a professor of Sociology (specializing in social psychology), Lydia plans to link her research with mental health interventions for African American communities.
On campus, she works as a Diversity Peer Advisor (DPA) and as the Senior Programming Coordinator at the Black Cultural Center. In the city of Philadelphia, Lydia regularly volunteers with Mothers in Charge, a local organization dedicated to raising consciousness surrounding gun violence prevention.