Public Policy with a Political Science Concentration
BA, Drake University, 2002: International Relations, Latin American History, and Spanish
MPP, University of Denver, 2007
Research Categories: Police-Community Relations, Effective Policing, Local-Level Counter-terrorism Initiatives, Inclusive Urban Innovation, Structural Racism and Institutional Change
Ajenai's academic research examines policing of African American and European Muslim communities, and the factors most important in helping or harming the police-community relationship. Ajenai is a 2015-2016 American Political Science Association Minority Fellow and a 2015-2016 Marshall Memorial Fellow under the German Marshall Fund of the United States, for which she traveled to five European countries over four weeks to discuss policy and best practices with leaders across sectors.
Previously, Ajenai served five years as Policy Director for a Washington, D.C.-based association of 700 African-American state legislators representing 65 million constituents. She executed over 30 policy symposia and annual conferences; managed grant projects; brokered meetings between legislators, Congressional members, and The White House; and served as a magazine editor and writer.
Previously, Ajenai helped establish a municipal agency within the City & County of Denver, the Office of the Independent Monitor, which provides civilian oversight of police and sheriff Internal Affairs investigations. Ajenai served nearly five years as Community Relations Ombudsman, responsible for increasing overall public trust in law enforcement. She had over 150 meetings with community and police groups, helped raise satisfaction among citizens and officers with the complaint process by 86%, and she created and managed one of largest citizen-police mediation programs in the country.
Ajenai is an alumna of the following leadership programs: Truman National Security Project Fellowship, Transatlantic Inclusion Leaders Network, Aspen Institute Racial Equity Leadership Development Seminar, National Organization of Black Elected Legislative Women Leadership Institute, and Colorado Institute for Leadership Training. She has been an officer of several non-profit boards, including the Women’s Foundation of Colorado where she remains an active donor and Honorary Trustee.