LaNitra M. Berger is an Associate Professor of History and Art History and Director of African and African American Studies at George Mason University. From 2010-2022, she was the Senior Director of the Office of Fellowships at George Mason University. Throughout her career, she has worked toward helping underrepresented students gain access to transformational education abroad opportunities and careers in public service. Since joining Mason in 2010, Dr. Berger has helped students secure more than $2 million in external funding for national scholarships and fellowships such as the Boren, Fulbright, Gilman, Truman, National Science Foundation, and Critical Language Scholarship. She has helped 30 students receive Fulbright awards, many of whom are first generation or minority students. She is the recipient of the Spirit of King Award (2015) and the Margaret C. Howell Award (2018) at Mason. Dr. Berger is currently working with IIE and the US State Department to develop initiatives that support diversity and inclusion in the Fulbright US Student Program, including the Fulbright Noir Instagram platform.
In 2021, she was elected President and Board Chair of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. Dr. Berger also serves on several education abroad advisory boards the AIFS academic advisory board, and Globalize DC. She previously served as director of leadership and international programs at the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), where she managed a federal internship program and helped minority-serving institutions develop campus internationalization strategies. During her tenure at NAFEO, Dr. Berger organized three national dialogues on diversity in international education, bringing together college presidents, federal agencies, ambassadors, and nonprofit leaders together to improve access to study abroad. She has also previously been a regular contributor to The American Prospect online magazine as a correspondent on race and gender issues.
Dr. Berger is affiliate faculty in the African and African American Studies (AAAS) and the History and Art History Programs at Mason, where she teaches classes on African and African American art, museum curating, and South African history and culture. As an art historian, her research focuses on the intersections of art and social activism in the Black and Jewish diasporas. In 2018, she designed and led a faculty led study abroad course in South Africa called, “Monuments,Museums, and Memory in South Africa” that challenged students to look at the intersections of art and social activism in public monuments and memorials.
Dr. Berger received her MA and PhD in art history from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree in art history and international relations from Stanford University. She is the author of the NAFSA guide, “Exploring Education Abroad: A Guide for Racial and Ethnic Minority Participants.” She is also the editor of the book, “Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, and Perspectives”published by NAFSA. Her first monograph, “Irma Stern and the Racial Paradox of South African Modern Art: Audacities of Color” was published by Bloomsbury in December 2020.