Banana Leaves

Our Story

is a Yoruba term for story. Our founder, 

Dr. Monique O. Ositelu, comes from a rich Nigerian lineage of storytellers - where she applies her inherited talent of storytelling to data. As someone who enjoys using data to tell stories to make systematic change in both practice and policy, in 2020, Dr. Monique launched her data consulting firm to pursue her passion of helping non-profits and educational institutions leverage data to curate meaningful strategies that promote student success and socioeconomic mobility.

Dr. Monique is an entrepreneur, data strategist, federal education policy advisor, keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and an emerging national advocate for equitable access to colleges and universities for marginalized students. She serves as a Senior Policy Analyst for Higher Education with the Education Policy Program at New America.  New America is a bipartisan policy think-tank located in Washington, D.C., conducting innovative and original policy research. In her role, Dr. Monique conducts policy research and data analysis to promote college access and degree completion for historically underserved students (including students of color, low-income, and incarcerated students).

Prior to joining New America, she was an Education Legislative Policy Analyst for the Florida Legislative's Research Unit, known as the Office of Program Policy Analysis & Government Accountability (OPPAGA). She also previously worked for the College Autism Network as a Quantitative Researcher, as well as Florida State University's Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement as the Interim Director for their College Reach Out Program where she exposed underserved Leon County high school students to postsecondary opportunities.

Dr. Monique has over a decade of experience as a trained quantitative researcher and data analyst.  She earned her PhD in Higher Education, with a specialization in Public Policy, from Florida State University (FSU).  During her doctoral studies, Dr. Ositelu was recognized as an FSU Fellow, McKnight Dissertation Fellow, Finalist for Outstanding Graduate Student Research, Runner-Up for FSU's College of Education 3-Minute Thesis Competition, Graduate Assistant for a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant, an active presenter at national conferences and a recipient of multiple grants and scholarships.

In March of 2019, Dr. Monique was recognized as an honoree for the Dissertation of the Year Award from the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE).  Dr. Ositelu's dissertation focused on the National Collegiate Athletic Association's (NCAA's) Academic Progress Rate (APR).  

Dr. Monique earned her Masters in Public Administration, with a focus in Public Policy & Management, from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP).  While completing her masters, Ositelu trained with a Pre-Olympic development team in track and field at UTEP where she qualified in the 800m for Nigeria's national track and field team.  However, her qualification to compete for Nigeria's World Relays in 2014 and the 2016 Olympics in Rio was short-lived due to an Achilles injury.  While at UTEP, Ositelu served as a Graduate Assistant Coach for their Women's and Men's cross country and track & field teams.

Prior to UTEP, Ositelu earned her bachelor's of science in Psychology from Furman University while simultaneously working her way through college with two jobs; serving as a mentor and tutor for youth within the Greenville, SC community; working as an Undergraduate Quantitative Research Assistant in the Aging & Cognition Lab; and competing as a Division I track and field athlete with a SOCON conference championship title in the 800m.  During her undergraduate career, Ositelu received her early training as a quantitative researcher and co-authored results in a highly esteemed academic journal as an undergraduate student, Psychology and Aging Journal.  The summer prior to enrolling into Furman University,  Dr. Ositelu earned a bronze medal in the 1500m at the 2007 U.S. Junior Olympics in Walnut, CA.

women at work
Dr. Ositelu & Kofi

Dr. Ositelu continues to engage in scholarship on important higher education issues by presenting at national and international conferences, publishing in academic journals, as well as, public opinion outlets - with her most recent publications in the Journal of Children and Poverty and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.  She is most recently quoted in NPR's All Things Considered as a content and data expert discussing the current lawsuit against the NCAA's use of APR - where Dr. Ositelu's ongoing research finds the APR metric to be racially discriminatory towards HBCU athletes.

Dr. Ositelu resides in the DMV area and during her free time she enjoys traveling internationally (pre-COVID), cooking gourmet meals, mentoring youth within the D.C. area and spending time with her family and of course, her Havanese pup -- Kofi!