Jelani Hayes entered the Ph.D. program in History in the fall of 2017. Her research focuses on the effects cultural and political narratives have had on African American women's legal and intellectual history.
Jelani previously served under the Obama Administration in the White House Office of Management and Budget. She also held a fellowship at a Washington-based business organization and a White House Internship in the Office of Public Engagement. Jelani graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2015. She received a B.A. in History with honors as well as a minor in Sustainability and Environmental Management. Her undergraduate research focused on drug policy, incarceration, and criminal justice reform. Jelani is a native of Southern California.