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Nkechi Agwu (Born Heroine Of Enugu State)

The daughter of two professors – Jacob Ukeje Agwu of Nigeria and Europa Lauretta Durosimi Wilson of Sierra Leone, Nkechi Agwu was born in Enugu, Nigeria. Her family sided with the Biafrans in the Nigerian Civil War, and Nigerian bombers inflicted damage on their Umuahia home. Nkechi, her mother, and her siblings boarded the last flight out of Nigeria carrying Biafrans in 1968. From there, they were transferred to camps in Liberia and Sierra Leone. When they arrived at her grandmother’s home in Sierra Leone after fleeing the refugee camps, it had burned down, leaving them homeless.

Following the end of the civil war in Nigeria in 1970, the majority of Agwu’s family reunited with her father, who had left the government to work as a farmer. Nkechi continued her education in Freetown, Sierra Leone – First at the Annie Walsh Memorial School and subsequently at the Fourah Bay College Primary School.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the University of Nigeria. She then migrated to the United States, where she received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Connecticut and also, a doctorate in mathematics education from Syracuse University, with a minor in gender studies and multicultural education.

Nkechi Agwu (Born Heroine Of Enugu State)

Math instructor, Nkechi Madonna Adeleine Agwu was born on October 8, 1962. Nkechi is a naturalized citizen of the United States, a tenured academic member at the City University of New York’s Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the former director of the institution’s Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning, and Scholarship.

Mathematics is no doubt embedded in the DNA of Nkechi Madonna Adeleine Agwu. Her father was an economist and her mother,was a mathematics teacher. Nkechi is now in her 15th year as a mathematics professor at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, City University of New York, where she teaches everything from algebra to calculus. Yet she felt no pressure from her parents to pursue a career in math education.

At Borough of Manhattan Community College, Nkechi was named Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center. She served a term as the American Association of University Women’s New York City branch president in 2009. Her goals included promoting minority health and encouraging girls and women to pursue STEM careers.

She visited Nigeria once more in 2014 as part of a Carnegie Africa Diaspora Fellowship-funded trip. Nkechi developed a discrete mathematics course to satisfy the college’s requirement that students take a writing-intensive course, which sparked her interest in ethnomathematics. Her work in this field includes analyzing the mathematical design of Ndebele dolls, African fabrics, and the game of Mancala, as well as employing storytelling to help mathematics students relate to the subject.

Nkechi Agwu (Born Heroine Of Enugu State)

The children’s ministry at GMEI collaborates with Nkechi. She has written and co-authored books about her faith, including Woman Thou Art Loosened: Escaping the Limitations of Femininity and God’s Own: The Genesis of Mathematical Story-Telling. Nkechi and Nicholas C. B. Ogbonna had a hearing- and speech-impaired son, Ngozichukwuka Jacob A. D. Agwu, on October 9, 1998. Nkechi’s mother oversaw Nicholas Ogbonna’s efforts as a Red Cross volunteer for Biafra. Sadly, Nkechi had to spend time apart from her husband, who had diabetes and needed insulin treatment. He passed away from diabetes-related complications.

Chi Stem Toys Inc. is a non-governmental, non-profit company that Nkechi helped form. Through the use of recycled materials, it aids in the development of business and STEM skills in kids, women, and persons with disabilities. Her ethnomathematics studies served as the inspiration.

Nkechi is featured in a playing card set created by the Association of Women in Mathematics that features prominent female mathematicians. So, when it comes to Enugu Heroes and Heroines, Nkechi Agwu is definitely a name to be reckoned with.

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