Estella Atekwana

Dean Estella Atekwana wearing blazer, yellow top, pearl necklage and glasses.

Position Title
Dean, College of Letters and Science


Estella Atekwana began her tenure as dean of the College of Letters and Science in August 2021. She provides academic and administrative leadership for the largest college on campus, overseeing 37 departments and academic programs with more than 900 faculty across the arts, humanities, social sciences, mathematical and physical sciences.

Atekwana is a renowned geophysicist whose research interests include biogeophysics, near surface geophysics, tectonics, geodynamics and continental rifting.

She previously served as dean at the University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean and Environment and as head of the Boone Pickens School of Geology at Oklahoma State University. She also serves as a member of the governing board of Botswana International University of Science and Technology. She has a collaborative National Science Foundation project in Uganda to study the Albertine rift, and has received approximately $11.7 million in research funding, primarily from the U.S. Department of Energy, the NSF and industry.

She is a fellow of the Geological Society of America and a member and recipient of outstanding educator awards from the Association of Women Geoscientists and the Society of Exploration Geophysicists. Her contributions to exploration geophysics were recognized with the 2021 Reginald Fessenden Award from SEG, as well as the SEG 2020 Virtual Near Surface Global Lecturer award. She also belongs to the American Geophysical Union, the European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers, the Geochemical Society and the National Association of Black Geoscientists.

Atekwana received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology from Howard University and her doctorate in geophysics from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia, Canada.