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Department's Administrative Assistant Publishes Poetry

Tonya Locklear

As Administrative Assistant, Tonya Elk Locklear has been a valuable member of the Biology Department for many years.  It is while tending to the Department's daily business that she has been quietly pursuing her dreams of writing and American Indian Studies.  Two of Tonya's poems were published recently in the new online journal -- Journal of Creative Arts and Minds.  See pages 186-188 for her poems, "Healing Mother" and "For Every Season, Change Comes."  Tonya has provided a biosketch about herself below.

"Hello, I’m Tonya Elk Locklear, the Administrative Assistant in the Biology Department, and I wear many hats.  I’ve been employed with UNCP for 19 years in various academic departments and have enjoyed watching the positive growth of the University as well as being on the side as a student. 

I wear many hats.  I work full time; I’m a musician and writer.  I returned to college to pursue my undergraduate degree in American Indian Studies and found my true passion of writing.  I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing short stories and poems, and as an adult, life happened where children and family became the main focus and I put down my pen.  Writing is a hobby at most, and I never thought about a career solely as a writer, but after being introduced to a Native American Literature course, the passion to write was rekindled.  While learning more about indigenous people in the American Indian Studies program and through my writing, I want the reader to be part of the histories and the experiences that American Indians encountered and still face today, and to view them through the indigenous lens.  My future goal is to work toward my graduate degree in American Indian Studies and teach in higher education."

You can find Tonya most any weekday in the Departmental office, where she answers the phone and fields a myriad of questions related to faculty, staff, and to course offerings, where she manages office supplies and copying equipment, where she keeps the faculty informed of University happenings and classroom facilities, where she greets newcomers and visitors to the Department, and where she plans special social events each year.  She is, in many ways, the "heartbeat" of the Biology Department.

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