Mekaelia is a program manager at Ascend at the Aspen Institute, an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, DC. As a policy program of the Institute. The Aspen Institute's mission is to foster leadership based on enduring values and to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. Ascend is a hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security.
Prior to joining Ascend, Mekaelia completed a National Urban Fellowship at the Annie E. Casey Foundation, supporting replication of the I-BEST career-pathway program for adult learners across five Maryland community colleges. She earned a Master of Public Administration degree at Baruch College, City University of New York, where she graduated Pi Alpha Alpha. She has previously held posts at Sponsors for Educational Opportunity, a nonprofit organization that works to improve diversity efforts in challenging and highly coveted industries; and Emblem Health, coordinating Medicare benefits under contract with the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services. She received a bachelor's degree in political science from Hunter College and serves on the board of directors for the Gye Nyame Empowerment Project, a New York-based community organization.