Dr. Zakiya Smith is a strategy director at the Lumina Foundation, the nation's largest foundation dedicated solely to higher education. At Lumina, she leads the work of the foundation to develop new models of student financial support for higher education, focusing on issues of affordability. Prior to her work in philanthropy, Smith served as a Senior Advisor for Education at the White House Domestic Policy Council, where she was tasked with developing President Obama's higher education policy. Smith also served in the Obama administration at the U. S. Department of Education, where she developed programmatic, policy and budget solutions to respond to pressing challenges in college access, affordability, and completion. Earlier in her career, she worked directly with students in various capacities across the K-12 system, and her goal is to always bring those insights to her current work. Smith has been featured on C-SPAN and Fox Business News as well as profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes Magazine, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education and serves on the board of directors for the National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC).
Smith holds a bachelor's degree in political science and secondary education from Vanderbilt University, a master's degree in education policy and management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and is currently pursuing a doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania.