20-Something Visionary Promotes Obama's Higher-Education Goals

20-Something Visionary Promotes White House Higher-Ed Agenda 1

Naicu

Zakiya Smith, a senior policy adviser to President Obama on education, speaks widely on the administration's higher-education goals.

While she was still an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University in the early 2000s, Zakiya Smith told one of her professors that she was interested in working for the U.S. Department of Education someday. The professor, a staunch conservative, told her to forget about it; Republicans were going to abolish the department soon.

Fast forward to today. The department is still very much alive, and Zakiya Smith, now 27, has not only worked there but moved on—to the White House, where