Miller 110B

Additional Appointments

Affiliate Faculty, African Studies Program Affiliate Faculty, Banks Center for Educational Justice

Research Interests

Digital Literacies
Equity Studies
Immigration and Schooling
Multicultural Education
Teacher Education & Research

Lakeya (Omogun) Afolalu

Assistant Professor

Lakeya Afolalu, Ph.D. is a Scholar of Language, Literacy, and Culture specializing in the intersections of immigration, race, and identity. Raised between her Nigerian and African American cultures, her hybrid identity is reflected in her scholarship that focuses on African immigrant youth. Specifically, Lakeya explores the role of multilingualism, literacy, including digital literacies, in African immigrant youths' identity constructions across home, school, and digital spaces. She pays particular attention to how the United States' system of racialization and racial categories influence their identity constructions and negotiations. Interdisciplinary in nature, Lakeya's scholarship emphasizes the rich diversity within Black youth identities, languages, and literacies.

Critical to Lakeya's research is her development of practices as well as school and community-based partnerships to support youth of color identities and well-being. She draws on her lived experiences, the wisdom of her former middle school students, and the arts to inform her approach to shifting static ideas about identity.

Her academic scholarship has appeared in Teachers College Record and Journal of Literacy Research and has been supported by The National Council of Teachers of English and The Literacy Research Association. Her public scholarship has been featured on various formats, including TEDxESSENCE Magazine, and NPR Radio.

Ph.D. The University of Texas at Austin (Language & Literacy Studies)
M.A. Teachers College, Columbia University (Curriculum & Teaching, Literacy Specialist)
B.A. Michigan State University (Elementary Education)


Courses Taught
EDUC 405: Postcolonial Identities in the Arts, Education, and Society
EDC&I 568: Youth Multiliteracies: Modality, Culture, and Identity
EDTEP 533: Language, Culture, and Power in the Writing Classroom
Fellowships, honors and awards
  • Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Fellowship (ECOC), National Council of Teachers of English (2024 – 2026)
  • Resilience and Compassion SEED Grant, University of Washington Resilience Lab and Campus Sustainability Fund (2024 - 2025)
  • Scholars of Color Transitioning into Academic Research Institutions Fellow (STAR), Literacy Research Association (2022 – 2024)
  • Outstanding Dissertation Award, Bilingual Education Research SIG, American Educational Research Association (2022)
  • Cultivating New Voices among Scholars of Color Fellow (CNV), National Council of Teachers of English (2020 – 2022)
  • Texas New Scholars Fellowship, Department of Teaching & Curriculum, The University of Texas at Austin (2016 – 2019)

(Formerly known as "Omogun". If you'd like to read a copy and/or need access, email me:

New features

As the U.S. is facing another literacy crisis, particularly with the Science of Reading, Lakeya Afolalu has a solution. It’s to challenge schools and society to redefine literacy.