Penn State

Consortium forSocial Movements and Education
Research and Practice

Wilson Kwamogi Okello

Wilson Kwamogi Okello

Assistant Professor of Higher Education
okello headshot

Professional Bio

Dr. Wilson Kwamogi Okello (he/him) is a transdisciplinary artist and scholar who draws on Black critical theories to advance research on knowledge production and human development. Most immediately, he is concerned with how Black critical approaches make visible the epistemic foundations that structure what it means to be human and imagining otherwise possibilities for Black being therein. He is also concerned with how theories of Blackness might reconfigure understandings of racialized stress and trauma, qualitative inquiry, critical masculinities, and curriculum and pedagogy to create conditions of possibility in the education context and society. Widely published, he has over 40 scholarly publications in leading venues such as the Journal of College Student Development, Race, Ethnicity and Education, and the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education. Dr. Okello is co-editor of “Trauma-informed practice in student affairs: Multidimensional considerations for care, healing, and wellbeing,” a New Directions for Student Services volume, and solo author of a forthcoming book with SUNY Press that explores the potential of centering Blackness in human development. Dr. Okello is a dynamic, sought-after speaker and consultant; he has delivered over 150 invited keynotes/talks/performances across the United States and internationally. Among other early career awards, he was selected as the 2023 Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) Early Career award recipient; he received the 2022-2023 Council on Ethnic Participation (CEP) Mildred Garcia Award for Exemplary Scholarship by ASHE, and he was named a 2022 Emerging Scholar by the American College Personnel Association. He is the recipient of the University of Rhode Island’s Distinguished Alumni Rising Star Award, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) Outstanding Professional Award, and Youngstown State University’s Outstanding Alumni Award. Dr. Okello earned his Ph.D. from Miami University; his master’s degree is from the University of Rhode Island, and he holds a bachelor’s degree from Youngstown State University. He was born and raised in Youngstown, Ohio and is a proud graduate of Youngstown City Public Schools. Currently, Dr. Okello is an assistant professor of higher education at Penn State University, where he is a research associate at the Center for the Study of Higher Education and director of the Black Study in Education Lab—a research and praxis hub concerned with exploring the potentialities of Blackness in educational research, practice, and policy.

Research Interests

Affective and embodied pedagogies, Black critical studies and Black feminisms, Critical masculinities, Critical qualitative research, Human development and identity formation, Racialized trauma and stress