Toya Mary Okonkwo
As a well-wisher of humanity, I utilize the creative impulses of imagination as resistance to enact an ethos arts education as central to advancing vibrant individual and collective changes that contribute to an ever-advancing civilization. Recently, I earned my Ph.D. of English and had the distinction of being the first Black woman to graduate in the history of that program. Over the years, I have taught at Purdue, TCU, Paul Quinn College, and UNT.
In my dissertation, entitled OUR REAL LIFE PECOLAS AND OGUU CHASES THE SUN - FROM COLLAPSING STARS TO QUASARS: A COSMIC PLAY IN THREE ACTS & TWO INTERLUDES ON THE IMPORTANCE OF IGBO STORYTELLING IN EXPANDING BLACK GIRLHOOD IMAGINATIONS AS RESISTANCE TO SOCIAL ERASURE IN STOP SIX, TX., I blended the creative power of performance and visual storytelling to explore the subjects of #blackgirlmagic as it relates to astrophysics and the neurobiology of transcending the confines of trauma.
In my most ardent dreams, my dissertation, along with my M.A. thesis, A Handful of Gardenias: Short Stories from My Grandmother, Mary "May" Katherine McKenzie, will be realized for audiences to experience and thereby take the reins of their own journeys towards becoming well-wishers of humanity and lovers of the beauty of our essential oneness. I am also an active volunteer with the Baha'i community and collect honey native to the lands in which I travel (it makes the best tea!).
My interests include being a fabulous scholar and teacher of African American studies at the university and college education level.
This website take you through the major projects I have completed in my academic journey. You will find my C.V., Teaching Philosophy (and inspiration), Research Statement, Dissertation Page, Syllabi for Literature, Writing, and Humanities courses, Pedagogy Presentation,and Inquiry Project. Enjoy the tour!