Nneka Ibekwe-Okafor

Nneka Ibekwe-Okafor

Senior Associate Director, Center for Social Measurement and Evaluation


About Nneka

Nneka Ibekwe-Okafor is a PhD candidate in the Human Development and Quantitative Methods division at the University of Pennsylvania, Graduate School of Education. Her research sits at the intersection of developmental science, education and social policy. She investigates the social determinants of children’s academic development. Specifically, identifying risk and protective factors at the family, school and community levels, in efforts to promote the optimal development of children from vulnerable populations.

As a Society for Research in Child Development Pre-doctoral State Policy Fellow, Nneka worked with the Office of Early Learning in the Delaware Department of Education to develop evaluation plans and evaluate the state’s early learning initiatives. As a Research Assistant for the Field Center for Children’s Policy, Practice and Research, Nneka investigated the relationship between system-level risk factors and child fatalities among child maltreatment cases. She has published articles related to assessing the effects of early intervention on early academic skills, identifying risk and protective factors across ecological levels to identify intervention opportunities, and ways to improve the child welfare system.

Previously, Nneka worked as a Manager for the Center for Education Policy Research and as a Teaching Fellow at Harvard University. Before delving into research and policy, Nneka worked as a Social Worker in East Los Angeles and New York City. She worked with children and families involved in the child welfare, foster care, and juvenile justice systems. She holds an Ed.M. from Harvard University in Prevention Science Research and an M.S.W. from Columbia University. In her undergraduate studies, Nneka majored in Sociology and African American Studies and was a NCAA Division I volleyball player at the University of California, Davis.