OUR FIRST LADY
Aquanetta L. Dickens, the youngest of four children, was born and reared in Chicago, Illinois to the late Robert and Willa Mae Wilson West. Aquanetta accepted Christ at the age of 12 and became a member of the Progressive Missionary Baptist Church (Progressive) under the leadership of the late Rev. John D. Digby, Senior Pastor. As a youth, she was an active member of the Sunday School and the Junior Usher Board at Progressive.
She attended the Chicago Public Schools where she excelled both in academics and music. After graduating from Chicago Vocational High School, she attended Grambling State University (Grambling) on a 4-year music scholarship where she was a member of the Famous Tiger Marching Band and the Symphonic Band where she played the Clarinet and Bassoon, respectively. She is an alumna of Grambling where she earned her Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology, 1986.
After moving to New Jersey in 1987, she married her college sweetheart, Keith D. Dickens on August 12, 1989. After searching for a church home, Keith and Aquanetta became members of the Christ Care Unit Missionary Baptist Church, Sicklerville, NJ under the leadership of Bishop Robert F. Hargrove, Jr for over 20 years. She served as an Usher, Youth Ministry, Chair of Women’s Day, Sunday School Teacher, and a Deaconess.
Aquanetta was hired at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in Philadelphia, PA as an Environmental Scientist in 1989. Currently, for the past 25 years, she is the Section Chief of the Toxics Programs where she enforces the varius environmental laws and regulations with a diverse group of people including Environmental Engineers, Scientists, Environmental Protection Specialists, and Inspectors. During her career at EPA, she served as the Black Employment Program Manager, received several Bronze Medals for Commendable Service, a Silver Metal for Superior Service, Special Achievement, Leadership and Monetary Awards, and was named the Federal Executive Boards “Woman of the Year.”
She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Theta Pi Omega Chapter, and a member of Parkside United Methodist Church. Her interest is interior decorating and her greatest achievement was giving birth to her daughter, Imani. Aquanetta resides in Williamstown, NJ with her husband Keith and dog Foxy (who now lives somewhere over the rainbow).