By Peri Hamlin, with contributions by Kirstin Jones

Kirstin Jones; Courtesy of Author

One of the first “Southwester” articles written about 2011 SWNA Scholarship recipient Kirstin Jones was in 2009. Back then, she was a young teen doing amazing things. “The Southwester” spotlighted her because she was selected as a student representative to the D.C. State Board of Education. Fast forward, 11 years later, Kirstin is now a young woman and is continuing to do amazing things.  

Kirstin was born and raised in SW. She and her family first lived in Town Square Towers and later moved to a house in Carrollsburg Place, a block from Nationals Stadium. She attended all D.C. Public Schools. Throughout High School, Kirstin involved herself in many activities. In addition to being a D.C. State Board of Education representative, she hosted a math fair at King Greenleaf Recreation Center and actively participated in the Girl Scouts, which led to her receiving their highest honor, the Girl Scout’s Gold Award. 

When it came time to go to college, it was no surprise that Kirstin was accepted into the prestigious Barnard College, Columbia University (Barnard). While in college, Kirstin served as vice president of the Barnard Organization of Soul Sisters, captain of the Columbia Cheerleading team, and was a member of Onyx, a hip hop dance troupe. 

Kirstin graduated from Barnard in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics and has since continued her track record of doing amazing things. She served as an Obama Administration political appointee in the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and was an Associate in the White House Presidential Personnel Office. At SBA, she was the special assistant to Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet, a member of President Obama’s Cabinet. Kirstin also worked as the scheduler to Congressman Donald S. Beyer, Jr. (VA-08). Prior to that, she aided the chief operating officer/chief financial officer of RLJ Lodging Trust, a company founded by Bob Johnson, the founder of BET.

Kirsten is currently working as a Finance Analyst for the Obama Foundation in Chicago. She supports the chief financial officer in the overall financial leadership of the Foundation and supports the Foundation’s business diversity efforts. Outside of her normal work responsibilities, Kirstin also leads the Obama Foundation Internship Program, the Black Women’s Affinity Group, and is a board member for DanceWorks Chicago. As if that’s not enough, Kirstin is also obtaining a graduate degree at the Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Business, where she is a Baumhart Scholar.

Even with all of her commitments, Kirstin has somehow found time to give back to the SW community by serving on the SWNA Scholarship Fund Committee. Kirstin joined the Scholarship Committee shortly after graduating from college and currently participates remotely from her home in Chicago. Kirstin is a shining example of how the SWNA Education and Scholarship Task Force helps to benefit young people, as well as the community.For more information about the SWNA Scholarship and Education Task Force, go to

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