Nkechi Madonna Adeleine Agwu, born October 8, 1962, is a mathematics teacher and historian of mathematics. Dr Agwu is a naturalized American citizen, professor of Mathematics at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, part of the City University of New York, and was a director of the college's Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Scholarship.
Early life and education
Dr Agwu was born in Enugu, Nigeria, the daughter of two teachers; Jacob Ukeje Agwu from Nigeria, and Europa Lauretta Durosimi Wilson, was from Sierra Leone. In the Nigerian Civil War, her family supported the Biafran side, and their home in Umuahia was damaged by Nigerian bombers. In 1968, Dr Agwu, her mother, and her siblings left Nigeria on the final evacuation plane taking Biafrans to a refugee camp in Equatorial Guinea, and were moved from there to camps in Liberia and Sierra Leone. They had left the refugee camps for her grandmother's house in Sierra Leone, but it had burned down, leaving them homeless. Most of her family returned to Nigeria after the end of the war in 1970, and rejoined Agwu's father who had left the government service to become a farmer, but Dr Agwu stayed in Freetown, Sierra Leone as a student at the Fourah Bay College Primary School and then at the Annie Walsh Memorial School.
In 1980, Dr Agwu returned to Nigeria. She studied mathematics at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, earning a bachelor's degree with honours in 1984. On the recommendation of two of her university teachers, James O. C. Ezeilo and Isabelle Adjaero, she went to the University of Connecticut for graduate study, the same university where Dr Adjaero earned her Ph.D. Dr Agwu started her studies there in 1987, after working as a government statistician and as a lecturer at Kaduna Polytechnic.
Dr Agwu completed a master's degree in mathematics at the University of Connecticut in 1989. She moved to the Syracuse University, where she completed her Ph.D. in mathematics education in 1995. Her dissertation, Using a Computer Laboratory Setting to Teach College Calculus, was supervised by Howard Cornelius Johnson. At Syracuse, her course of studies also included gender studies and multicultural education, and she was president of the African Students Union and of the Association of International Students.
Career and contributions
Dr Agwu was appointed Coordinator of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Borough of Manhattan Community College.
In 2009, Agwu was elected New York City branch president of the American Association of University Women; on June 1st, 2011 the branch at 111 East 37th Street New York, NY 10016 was closed by AAUW headquarters during her presidency due to mismanagement, and the building subsequently sold.
Dr Agwu has self-published books on mathematics and mathematicians.