- Tuesday, February 9, 12:30 p.m. - 1:15 p.m.
- Event will be held on Zoom. Email email@example.com to register!
The “Intersectionality Project” is a series of conversations that consist of real-life stories from people who can speak to the intersections of underrepresented and marginalized identities. Previous speakers have consisted of students, faculty, staff and outside speakers who shared their experiences and perspectives living in a world that is continually growing more diverse. Stories have previously covered topics such as race/ethnicity, gender and sexuality, nationality, social class and socioeconomic status, (dis)ability and more.
The focus of the "Intersectionality Project" in February is the lived experiences of Black/African American people.
About Dr. Ngozi Onuora:
Dr. Ngozi Onuora, fondly called Dr. O, is currently an associate professor in Millikin University’s School of Education and the chair of the African American Studies minor. Although she is a native of Chicago, Ill., she has spent most of her life in Decatur. Dr. Onuora graduated from MacArthur High School, then attended Richland Community College before transferring to Illinois State University (ISU), where she graduated with a B.S. in education and specializations in mathematics and social sciences in 1991. She was also inducted into the ISU College of Education Alumni Hall of Fame in 2010. A few years later, she earned an M.S. in educational administration (1996) from Eastern Illinois University (EIU) and was awarded the 1996 Warner Administration Award. Finally, in December of 2013, she completed her Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction in the Language and Literacy Division at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and participated in graduation ceremonies in May of 2014. Her specialty focus is children’s and young adult literature. At UIUC she won the 2003 Al Davis Leadership Award.
Dr. Onuora’s professional career began in 1991 when she returned to Decatur after graduation from ISU to teach at Baum Elementary School in District #61. She taught 5th grade, 2nd grade and a variety of grade levels for summer school programs during her time with Decatur Public Schools. Dr. Onuora also taught at Enterprise Elementary School before becoming a Gifted Strategist. In her role as a Gifted Strategist, she worked as part of a team of four under the Special Education division of the school district to bring services to children identified as gifted and talented in K-12. Subsequently, Dr. Onuora left that position to become the Coordinator of Educational Technology for Decatur Public Schools where she enacted district-wide initiatives for training and supporting the implementation of educational technologies within the K-12 schools. Based on the legacy of her predecessor, Cindy Reynolds, Dr. Onuora was able to continue the acquisition of technology grants worth about a quarter of a million dollars for each of the three years she was in this role for Decatur Public Schools. Dr. Onuora then moved to an administrative role as Support Team Leader for District #61 in which she worked in a team of three to serve schools in training, planning and implementing site-based decision-making and comprehensive school reform.
Dr. Onuora has been with the Millikin University family since 2002 when she was recommended to teach as adjunct faculty in the School of Education while still working full-time for Decatur Public Schools. She taught the 1-credit hour Technology for Teachers course for two years until a full-time position opened up in the department. This spring of 2021 will culminate her 19th year with the Big Blue family.
As part of her work in School of Education, Dr. Onuora has taught a variety of methods courses for the teacher education program such as General Elementary Methods, Language Arts Methods, Reading Methods and Math Methods. One of her favorite courses to teach is Children’s Literature. She has also taught in the Long-Vanderburg Program, the Honors Program, Global Issues courses – including many with a travel component. As such, Dr. Onuora has traveled with students to many locations such as Taiwan, China, England, Scotland, Finland, Sweden and Norway. She believes strongly in the value of travel to broaden students’ perspectives and to better understand their role as democratic citizens in a global society.
Her teaching and learning has been recognized in a multitude of ways. She was the 2008-2009 State Farm Engaged Education Fellow, selected as the 2012 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer, awarded the 2014-2016 James Millikin Estate Professorship, was nominated for the 2015 U.S. Professor of the Year Award, was the first recipient of the renamed Dr. Ralph A. Czerwinski Teaching Excellence and Campus Leadership Award in 2016, was voted by honors students to receive the 2017 James Millikin Scholars Educator of the Year Award, and was one of 25 scholars in the country selected for the 2019 Council of Independent Colleges Gilder Lehrman Institute on Civil War in American Memory at Yale University – an opportunity that allowed Dr. Onuora to work with the country’s top historians, including Pulitzer Prize winning historian/author Dr. David Blight.
Finally, Dr. Onuora enjoys serving others. She has served her department, the campus, her profession and the community in a myriad of ways. As a member of the Children’s Literature Association, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to the academic study of literature for children, Dr. Onuora has served on the Diversity Committee and is currently serving on the Judith Plotz Emerging Scholar Award Committee. This committee annually awards outstanding articles of literary criticism by new, never-before-published article authors on the topic of children's literature.
In the Decatur community, Dr. Onuora has been a member of the Board of Trustees for the Decatur Public Library – a role in which she was appointed by Mayor Julie Moore-Wolfe. She has also been on the Board of Directors for the Decatur Area Arts Council. Last fall, Dr. Onuora was asked to participate in a media event for Governor Pritzker on Census 2000. She also currently holds the role of co-chair for the Arts & Letters Committee of the Springfield-Decatur Area Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Likewise, she is also a co-chair of the International Awareness and Involvement Committee in which she moderated a Delta Dialogue Facebook Live event for World AIDS Day.
Dr. Onuora loves to stay engaged, and one motto she lives by is “Chase adventures.” She never says “no” to a good adventure and embraces new experiences.