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MISSION & VISION

 

Onaketa provides free online tutoring to underserved students of color.  We specialize in science and math, and we serve students in middle school, high school, and college.

At Onaketa, our vision is for all historically underserved youth to receive the resources and help they need to succeed in school and reach their academic goals, and to receive the support, protection, guidance, and love necessary to grow into their full potential.

OUR STORY

 

Onaketa was founded in 2020 by Dr. Nia Imara.

OUR TEAM

 
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NIA IMARA, PhD

Director of Onaketa

Astrophysicist and artist Nia Imara founded Onaketa as an outgrowth of her commitment to create more educational opportunities for black and brown youth.  Nia is a graduate of Kenyon College and UC Berkeley and was a prize postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.  A passionate advocate for students of color, Nia founded the Equity and Inclusion Journal Club at Harvard and has participated in many initiatives to create access in science.

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NIA IMARA, PhD

Director of Onaketa

Astrophysicist and artist Nia Imara founded Onaketa as an outgrowth of her commitment to create more educational opportunities for black and brown youth.  Nia is a graduate of Kenyon College and UC Berkeley and was a prize postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University.  A passionate advocate for students of color, Nia has led and participated in many initiatives to create access in science.

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"Knowledge is like a garden; if it is not cultivated, it cannot be harvested."

~Guinea proverb

HOLLIS PIERCE-JENKINS, PhD

Dr. Pierce-Jenkins is an accomplished executive with in-depth knowledge and experience in both private and public sector. She has over 10 years of effective leadership in non-profit organizations, and K-12 education.   Her work includes traditional schools and charter schools.  In September 2008, she founded Hollis Pierce & Associates, which focused on the professional development of leaders in any organizational setting.  She is a leadership coach who focuses on empowering individuals to reach their highest potential.  Hollis believes that it is imperative the community rally around its youth in efforts to create global citizens equipped with the 21st Century job skills required to compete in a global economy. 
Dr. Pierce-Jenkins holds a BA in Political Science from University of California, Berkeley, MEd in Curriculum Development from DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois, an EdD in Education (Organization and Leadership) at University of San Francisco.
 She is a published author: Personal Perceptions of Leadership Styles and Behaviors of Elementary School Principals in Urban Setting (2010, VDM Publishing).  

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ADIA FAUN IMARA

Oakland native currently living in NYC, Adia has dedicated her career to both leading creative strategy at top marketing agencies and serving her community through non-profit consulting.  She brings that experience to Onaketa through vibrant storytelling of black and brown communities.

Within her adventure through the working world, her constant delight has been crafting!

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MUNAZZA ALAM

Munazza Alam is an astronomer, National Geographic Young Explorer, and graduate student in the Department of Astronomy at Harvard University. She was a physics major at CUNY Hunter College in New York City, and has worked in various research groups in the Astrophysics Department at the American Museum of Natural History.

Munazza’s research interests include the detection and detailed characterization of the atmospheres of exoplanets, or planets beyond our Solar System. To collect data for her research, Munazza has used world-class telescopes in Arizona, Hawai'i, and Chile. Munazza is also an avid painter and aspiring polyglot.

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JAMILA PEGUES

Jamila Pegues is a graduate student at Harvard University, where she is pursuing a PhD in Astronomy and a Master of Science in Computational Science and Engineering.  Her research focuses on surveying and modeling chemistry within protoplanetary disks, which are disks of dust and gas where planets (like those in our own Solar System!) form.  Outside of research, she enjoys helping with outreach efforts, including informal education, science communication, and building more inclusive communities within astronomy.

In her spare time, Jamila writes science fiction novels.  She loves using her writing as a vehicle to journey beyond even the scope of the known universe.

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LANELL ALEXANDRIA WILLIAMS

LaNell A. Williams is a PhD Candidate and NSF GRFP Fellow at Harvard University studying soft condensed matter physics/biophysics. Her research focuses on understanding the self assembly of RNA-Viruses, in particular, the Bacteriophage MS2. She graduated from Wesleyan University with her BA in physics, and she went on to receive her MA in physics from Fisk University before coming to Harvard. LaNell has also been heavily involved in programming with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). As of January, she serves on the American Physical Society Council of Representatives representing the Forum on Graduate Students & the Forum on Early Careers.  She's the founder of the Women+ of Color Project and hopes to encourage more BIWOC to pursue academic careers.

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LANELL ALEXANDRIA WILLIAMS

Tutor Coordinator

LaNell A. Williams is a PhD Candidate and NSF GRFP Fellow at Harvard University studying soft condensed matter physics/biophysics. Her research focuses on understanding the self assembly of RNA-Viruses, in particular, the Bacteriophage MS2. She graduated from Wesleyan University with her BA in physics, and she went on to receive her MA in physics from Fisk University before coming to Harvard. LaNell has also been heavily involved in programming with the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). As of January, she serves on the American Physical Society Council of Representatives representing the Forum on Graduate Students & the Forum on Early Careers.  She's the founder of the Women+ of Color Project and hopes to encourage more BIWOC to pursue academic careers.

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ABEEHA ALAM

Biology Tutor

Abeeha Alam is a New York State certified high school teacher at a private school in Staten Island, New York. She has been teaching biology and mathematics for eight years. Abeeha earned  a bachelor’s degree in life sciences/biomedical engineering from the New York Institute of Technology and a masters degree in adolescence education with a concentration in biology from CUNY College of Staten. Abeeha enjoys working on citizen science projects and she moderates a robotics club at her school. 

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FILIPE CERQUEIRA

Chemistry and Biology Tutor

Filipe Cerqueira is a graduate student the University of Michigan where he is pursuing a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology. His research focuses on the biochemistry of starch-active proteins expressed by the human gut bacterium Ruminococcus bromii. When he isn’t crystallizing proteins in the lab, he studies the social justice-guided art that is effective facilitation.

He practices his facilitation skills in his work with the DEI Taskforce, an organization for which he is a co-founder and whose mission is to foster inclusion in the biomedical research environment at UMich.

He is proud of his Brazilian nationality and his Texan upbringing. 

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MONICA GALLEGOS-GARCIA

Science and Math Tutor

Monica Gallegos-Garcia is a 3rd year graduate student at Northwestern University and a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellow. She received her bachelor's degree in physics with a concentration in astrophysics from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Her work involves exploring the evolution of binary systems and the interactions that lead to binary black hole mergers. Outside of research Monica enjoys mentoring, hiking, and learning creative outlets like painting. 

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CHIMA McGRUDER

Science and Math Tutor

Chima McGruder is a 4th year graduate student at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics, where he researches the atmospheres of planets hundreds of light years away. In addition to grad school, Chima has a growing background in outreach. This includes work with National Astronomy Cohort, APS-IDEA (Astronomical Physical Society - Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Alliance), Harvard Observing Project, BiteScis (bitescis.org), and Cambridge Explores the Universe. Beyond academics, Chima does a variety of activities, such as learning to fly (with over 50 flight hours), snowboarding, rock climbing, hiking, and running (4 half marathons under his belt!).  Typical indoor activities consist of video gaming – in fact, he just built a PC with a 2080-super and 3700X last year.  Chima says: "I am a big sci-fi nerd with my favorite novel being 'The Expanse' series. I’m very excited to work with Onaketa students and can’t wait for us to have fun together."

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PHEONA WILLIAMS

Physics Tutor

Pheona Williams is a physics PhD student at Howard University and visiting graduate student/researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  She has a keen interest in solid state physics and quantum materials, and her current work focuses on the growth and characterization of topological insulators and superlattice systems.  She enjoys math and science and loves the way the marriage of the two can be used to explain and improve the world around us.  In her spare time she works out and enjoys cooking, rock climbing (bouldering specifically), and West African dancing.  

 

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)

What subjects do you tutor at Onaketa?


We offer tutoring in math and science.




How much do Onaketa's services cost?


Nothing. All of Onaketa's services are free for our students.




What students are eligible for Onaketa's services?


Students must come from historically underserved, marginalized communities to be eligible for Onaketa's services. We serve students in middle school, high school, and college.




How can we sign up for tutoring?


At this time, we are only able to serve students working with one of our partner organizations. If you are interested in receiving tutoring for yourself or your child, please tell your school or organization about Onaketa so that we can discuss a potential partnership.