Zainab Okolo, Ed.D., is a strategy officer at Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. In that role, she leads a portfolio of work designed to enable higher education and workforce providers to increase their capacity to facilitate, validate, and document learning regardless of where it occurs. This includes supporting the use of tools such as competency frameworks, strategies for assessment, competency-based learner records and recognition of prior learning.
Okolo previously served as an associate on HCM Strategists’ postsecondary team, where she worked on policy issues such as competency-based education and recognition of prior learning. Prior to that, she contributed to both higher education and the mental health of young adults through her institutional work and clinical practice.
Okolo has spent time studying free speech on college campuses, the impact of cultural competency and social capital on student outcomes, and reducing prison recidivism through prison education. She has also developed assessment tools for institutional practitioners and has served as a licensed clinical marriage and family therapist.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences from the University of Maryland, a master’s in marriage and family therapy and counseling from Syracuse University, and a doctorate in higher education administration from George Washington University.