Director, Obama Foundation Scholars

About Jamia Jowers

Jamia Jowers directs the Obama Scholars Program and oversees the student experience, including enrollment management, academic advising, student life programming, and more. Jamia is always game to discuss federal policy initiatives, human rights (particularly refugee asylum), and interior design. She can be found most days applying the skills developed in her previous positions with the UChicago Provosts Office of Academic Leadership Advancement and Diversity, the National Security Council, and the White House. She has an MA in international relations from Salve Regina University and a BA in political science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“I’m proud to work at Harris because of the way we leverage and marry an evidence-based approach to social impact.”

Get to know Jamia

What books are you reading or excited to read?

I just purchased Condoleezza Rice’s Democracy: Stories from the Long Road to Freedom and I am really excited about a book from one of our post-doc fellows (who is about to become an assistant professor). It is called Electric Arches. It explores Black girlhood and womanhood through poetry and visual art.

 Who are the people you most admire, living or dead, that you would most want to host at your dinner table?

Having worked with them previously, I would say President Obama and Samantha Power, especially in this world of divisiveness right now. Those are the two I feel who can get us back on track. Also, Maya Angelou was a phenomenal intellect. I would also say the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. because public policy work, right now, for me, feels like a call to action, but also a time of disillusionment. I would like to ask him, as a person who went through “one step forward and several steps back,” how did he press on when maybe, at times, he wanted to throw up his hands.

What’s something quirky about you?

I love interior design. I love how the visual elements of a space makes you feel and motivates your creativity and intelligence.

 Ask Jamia About: 

  • International relations and refugee rights

  • Podcasts

  • Living and working in Kenya

  • Épernay, France