Jolan Smith, the board president of Lincoln Family Life Center, earned her Ph.D. in special education as part of a joint program through Cal State Los Angeles and UCLA.
Upon earning a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Stanford in 2001, she starting working at Children of the Night, a nonprofit shelter for youth escaping sex trafficking. She said that it began a passion for working with at-risk youth.
She continued her mission at Hawthorne High School, where she taught special education for seven years. She also launched an SAT boot camp at the Lincoln Family Life Center, an organization that provides programs and services for multiple generations and ethnicities.
Smith will complete her post-doctoral research at UCLA, and she hopes to eventually obtain a tenure-track position at a university conducting research and training teachers. She would like to focus on topics involving the African-American community and bring a cultural understanding that she says is often lacking in such research.
Antonia Hernández, president and CEO of n, has been honored as a “thought leader” by the African-American Board Leadership Institute.
Compiled by Anne Artley.
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