Libraries Honors Student Scholars with Black Queer Studies Awards

Image of award winners with Libraries' staff and faculty in front of "Class of 2024" banner.

The University of Texas Libraries recently recognized a group of student scholars for their engagement with the innovative Black Queer Studies Collection. The Monica K. Roberts Graduate Award and the Hogan/Schell Undergraduate Award honor outstanding student scholarship and creative projects in the field of Black Queer Studies.

The Monica K. Roberts Graduate Award, featuring a $1,200 prize for winners and a $600 honorable mention, and the Hogan/Schell Undergraduate Award, with an $800 prize for winners and a $400 honorable mention, were presented at the Department of Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies graduation ceremony on April 30, 2024.

Chidera Orazulike, a Radio-Television-Film major, received the 2024 Honorable Mention for their screenplay "Somayina." Set in contemporary Nigeria, this work delves into themes of sexuality, generational trauma, and Igbo traditionalism.

Jayden McCree, a student in the Liberal Arts Honors program, won the 2024 Hogan/Schell Undergraduate Award for "Eden." This collection of ten poems and four musical compositions, inspired by KB Brookin's "Freedom House," explores McCree's experiences of modern Black transness through both word and sound.

Students receiving congratulations from a faculty member.

Leandro Stoffels, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese, earned the 2024 Honorable Mention for "Precarious Pop: Leona Vingativa, Social Media, and Black Eco-Transfeminism in Brazilian Popular Music." Stoffels' paper analyzes a trilogy of viral videos by Afro-Brazilian transgender comedian and artist Leona Vingativa, highlighting her unique approach to environmentalism and critique of capitalism.

Kyle Okeke, a creative writing MFA student in the English Department’s New Writers Project, won the 2024 Roberts Graduate Award for "In the Image of God." This series of poems, blending surrealism and concrete imagery, explores sex, religion, and Black history, reflecting Okeke's experiences as a Black queer individual in America.

The awards were presented by Dr. Lyndon K. Gill, Chair of the Black Queer Studies Collection Student Awards Committee, at the graduation ceremony. The event recognized the achievements of these students and their contributions to the field of Black Queer Studies.

All students enrolled in any college or school within the University of Texas system are eligible to apply for these awards. Submissions must be from the past two academic years and must draw upon materials from the Black Queer Studies Collection, including appropriate citations and references.

The prize money for the awards is generously provided by the Libraries, with additional support for honorable mentions from the interdepartmental Black Queer Diaspora Studies Committee, funded by the Department of African & African Diaspora Studies.

This recognition highlights the vital role of the Black Queer Studies Collection in fostering academic and creative excellence among students, encouraging them to explore and contribute to the rich field of Black Queer Studies.