Kelia Washington

Senior Associate, Postsecondary and Workforce

Data is powerful. When students have more information and better information, they can make more informed decisions about their future, especially when that data is relevant.


As a senior associate, Kelia helps lead DQC’s work to advocate and better understand postsecondary and workforce data policy, access, and use, improving the connection to K–12 data systems.

Before joining DQC, Kelia worked in several roles as an education researcher, including recently at the Urban Institute, a DC think tank, where she supported policy and community-engaged research. Much of the work focused college access and success of marginalized student groups. Within these research roles and the two years spent as a college adviser in rural Virginia, Kelia saw firsthand how crucial data is for students to make important decisions about their futures.

Kelia received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and master’s degrees in higher education and public policy from the University of Michigan–Ann Arbor. Outside of work, Kelia enjoys trying out vegan and vegetarian-friendly food spots and escaping the city.

Who are your education heroes? Community organizations that work hard to fill in the gaps for students, especially the organizations that serve students from underfunded schools.

Tell us a data use story that you love. As a college adviser, I would show students what their reach, match, and safety schools, using their GPA and test scores. For many students, it opened their eyes to what their path after high school could be. Sometimes data can be used to knock students down and punish them for things they have little control over. In this case, I tried to give them data that would empower them to make more informed decisions.

What’s your superpower? I will never say no to ice cream.