Jennifer Johnson Kebea

Posted in 40 under 40 2023

Jennifer Johnson Kebea

EdD educational leadership and management ’16

President, Campus Philly (Philadelphia)

Age 39

My Greatest Accomplishment:

I successfully defended my dissertation when I was eight months pregnant with my first child. A few weeks later, I was nearly at my due date when I walked in Drexel’s 2016 graduation ceremony. Now as a mom of three, I look back on that time with pride, gratitude and a bit of amusement — I thought I was busy then! My kids, Dylan, Piper and Blaise, are my greatest accomplishment. I give so much credit to working parents who return to school; I’m not sure I could have done it.

How Drexel Helped Me:

Drexel provided space for me to grow academically, professionally and personally. Not only did I complete my doctoral studies here, but I also worked full-time for Drexel for 12 years leading the Lindy Center for Civic Engagement. Today, I continue to teach graduate students in both Drexel’s School of Education and Goodwin School of Professional Studies. Being part of the Dragon Network as a former employee, a current adjunct faculty member and an alumna has been invaluable. So many of the important relationships I made during my time at Drexel persist to this day.

Where I Hope to Be in Five Years:

I’m thrilled to lead Campus Philly, a nonprofit that fuels inclusive economic growth by empowering diverse college students and recent graduates to explore, live and work in greater Philadelphia. In five years, I look forward to saying the organization has enabled the city and region to continue attracting and retaining college-educated talent, despite a significant decrease in the population of Generation Z nationwide. I’m committed to making sure Campus Philly continues to amplify greater Philadelphia as the best place to be a college student and launch a career, which in turn will ensure our local economy continues to have access to a highly skilled and diverse talent pool.

The Change I Would Most Like to See in the World:

I’ve spent my entire career in higher education, and it is abundantly clear that our sector needs an overhaul. First and foremost, a college education needs to be accessible and affordable for all. Second, we also need to continue the expansion of post-secondary credentialling and apprenticeship programs that will allow more young people and career-changers to find success in the dynamic 21st-century workforce. Equitable access to education and more pathways to family-sustaining employment are the changes I’d like to see most.