Chinemelu Okafor is a Harvard PhD student, Graduate Prize Fellow, Karl Deutsch Fellow, and 2023-24 Weatherhead Center Graduate Student Affiliate. Chinemelu’s research aims to address what drives progress towards African economic development through a normative lens. Namely, she seeks to understand how the origins and evolution of collective political and social behaviors, as well as how the structure of society, can help inform contemporary political and economic development outcomes in Nigeria. In 2023 Chinemelu was recognized as a Forbes 30 under 30 awardee in education for her work as the founder and president of the Research in Color Foundation — a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the representation and retention of underrepresented minorities and historically excluded scholars in economics through mentorship and financial support. In the past, Chinemelu has worked with institutions such as the World Bank Group, the United Nations, and the Royal African Society, among others. Chinemelu holds a Bachelor’s in Economics and International Studies from the University of Michigan and a Master’s in Applied Economics from the George Washington University. For the 2023-24 school year, Chinemelu will be on leave from her PhD program and working as a staff economist with the White House Council of Economics Advisers on topics related to international economics and international trade.

Chinemelu’s CV can be found here. For inquries regarding the Research in Color Foundation please head to the Research in Color Foundation website.