Alumni Profile: Dr. Nghana Lewis

Dr. Nghana Lewis, 1989 Delegate


1989 – Delegate from St. Thomas More High School
Currently – Assistant Professor of English and African & African Diaspora Studies, Tulane University and Practicing Attorney in River Parish Region, specializing in criminal defense

Nghana Lewis came to LYS in 1989 from St. Thomas More High School in Lafayette, Louisiana. In 2008, she was honored by LYS with the Roddy Richard Lifetime Achievement Award for her commitment to serving Louisiana Youth. Nghana was the first LYS alumni to receive this prestigious award.

Nghana graduated from Tulane University with honors (magna cum laude) in 1994, receiving a B.A. in English. While at Tulane, she was elected to the Newcomb College Senate and twice appointed to the Newcomb College Honor Board. In her sophomore year, she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and was chosen as a Newcomb College Asset, a distinction given to ten Newcomb women for their leadership in campus involvement and service. In 2001, she earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, specializing in American literature since 1800. At Illinois, she became the first recipient of the Richard K. Barksdale Fellowship and was elected to the English Graduate Student Association. Upon earning her Ph.D. in English, Dr. Lewis accepted a tenure-track assistant professorship in English at Louisiana State University. While at LSU, she launched the Encouraging Student Scholarship & Excellence through Native-Centered Education Program (ESSENCE) a 501c3 not-for-profit organization that provides supplemental educational services in English Language Arts and Reading to K-12 schools. In 2005, Dr. Lewis accepted q joint tenure-track assistant professorship in English and African & African Diaspora Studies at Tulane. In addition to her work in academia and with K12 schools, Dr. Lewis is a practicing attorney in the River Parish Region, specializing in criminal defense. To contact Dr. Lewis please e-mail, or call (504) 862-8179. You may also visit her website at

Dr. Lewis says about LYS: "I've always had a desire to serve my community; LYS taught me to channel that desire into positive, sustainable action. It also showed me how much talent lies within our state's youth. I was inspired by the examples set by my peers at LYS to believe in the possibilities that extend from a group of complete strangers coming together and not only getting to know and respect one another but also working toward the fulfillment of a common goal that has the ability to positively impact many more lives than our own. That's the power of learning. That's the power of collaboration. That's the power of leadership. That's LYS."