Kendrick Davis Ph.D.
Vice President of Policy Research
Los Angeles Office
Why I Do What I Do:
“Education helped me become a fuller version of myself, to better understand my lineage, and how to arm myself in the fight for my people and those similarly situated. My goal is to equip others with the tools they need to fully realize themselves and join their respective fights for justice.”
Alma Mater(s): Temple University and University of Pennsylvania
Your role in one sentence: Monitoring the local, state, and national education landscape to set the strategic research vision of the organization.
When I am not at work helping students get to and succeed in college I am…listening to music, making music, singing, going on long walks, swimming, and reading.
If not higher education then what cause? Working to get more Black and Brown youth into science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields and teaching them that it is part of their lineage.
Kendrick is a native of Pittsburgh, PA and a product of Pittsburgh Public Schools. His spirit of education advocacy was sparked by two events during his senior year of high school. School officials illegally collaborated with a classmate’s parents to change grades and class rankings, and nearly succeeded but for a few outspoken adults. That same year, as president of the superintendent’s advisory council, he witnessed first-hand the school board launch a racially charged campaign to oust a superintendent who’s only wrongdoing was refusing to accept the status quo. Kendrick came to understand that these systems were never designed to work for vulnerable and marginalized populations, so he decided to find a seat at every table that was least likely to welcome his presence.
As the Vice President for Policy Research for the Campaign for College Opportunity, Kendrick leads the campaigns research strategy and activities with the goal of improving evidenced-based policymaking, improving racial equity, and developing a more fair and equitable higher education climate. Prior to joining the Campaign, Kendrick he was an education policy advisor for Senator Kamala Harris in Washington, DC. through the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Congressional Fellowship Program. Prior to his work in D.C., Kendrick served in the mayoral administrations of Michael Nutter and Jim Kenney as the director of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) initiatives for the city of Philadelphia.
Kendrick earned his Ph.D. in higher education from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. His dissertation, Re-engineering Risk: A Portraiture of Black Undergraduate Engineering Persistence in Higher Education, examined the factors that enabled success for Black engineering achievers. His masters’ degrees in law and robotics engineering are also from the University of Pennsylvania. His bachelor’s in mechanical engineering is from Temple University.