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Frank Swanzy Essien Jr., Ph.D. is a strategy officer for research at Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. He is responsible for identifying and synthesizing existing research and evidence as well as commissioning new research to inform Lumina and the broader field on efforts to increase the nation’s level of education attainment.
His Lumina work also has included projects related to competency-based education, including the launch of the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN), and to the development of new higher education business and finance models.
Before joining Lumina in 2016, Essien served as manager for measurement and evaluation at USA Funds (now Strada Education Network), where he was responsible for assessing the social impact of the organization’s philanthropic actions. Prior to that, he worked for a management and marketing consulting firm in New York, helping Fortune 500 companies optimize their business strategies.
Essien holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy and serves on the school’s Alumni Board. He also holds bachelor’s degrees in economics and finance with a minor in mathematical science from Westminster College, where he was a Davis United World College (UWC) Scholar and a Bill Emerson Fellow.