The Reverend Doctor Nikia Smith Robert is a Chau-Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at Pomona College (California) in religious studies and ordained clergy in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.

Expanding her dissertation research, Dr. Robert founded  Abolitionist Sanctuary©, a nonprofit organization and faith-based abolitionist movement leader committed to helping churches use public policy and transformative justice strategies to advocate for a more just and equitable society beyond prisons, policing and punishment.

Dr. Robert is also the Chief Executive Officer of Cultural Competency Consulting, LLC., which provides value-added diversity, equity and inclusion solutions to educational, corporate and non-profit organizations.

Prior to becoming an academic scholar, clergy and social entrepreneur, Dr. Robert worked for more than ten years in Big Four Public Accounting firms doing expatriate and international taxes. She also worked as a Franchise Controller for the largest investment bank on Wall Street.

Dr. Robert is a native New Yorker and married with three children.

As an activist-scholar, Dr. Robert has organized, mobilized, rallied and spoken at highly visible protests against State-sponsored violence with Black Lives Matter, the Movement for Black Lives, Clergy for Black Lives, the NAACP and multi-religious communities. She sees her research as inextricably linked to praxis that is oriented toward social justice and grounded in the lived experiences of the oppressed.

Dr. Robert is a nationally and globally sought-after speaker who has been featured by NPR, Sojourners Magazine, Post Colonial Networks, Decolonial Horizons, Marginalia, Syndicate Symposia, Pasadena Now, Pasadena Weekly, LA Magazine, ABC, NBC and CBS television networks. She has participated as an invited speaker for the historical campaign of President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris for national events. Dr. Robert has been featured by notable organizations, healthcare systems, educational institutions, churches, civic and advocacy groups on the topics of religion, race, gender, social justice, mass incarceration and abolition.

Dr. Robert has presented papers at Harvard University, University of California Los Angeles, Duquesne University, Claremont Colleges, Political Theology Network Conference, Emory University, Union Theological Seminary, Salisbury University, Pomona College, Duquesne University, University of Southern California, Interdenominational Theological Center, Union Presbyterian Seminary, American Academy of Religion, and the Society of Christian Ethics. 

In addition, Dr. Robert is a graduate of the inaugural cohort of New York University’s Faculty First certificate program, the inaugural cohort of the Diversity in the Workplace certificate program with the University of Florida’s Muma School of Business, the Summer Leadership Institute certificate program at Harvard University, and the Proclaimers Place certificate program at Oxford University. She is also a recipient of the prestigious Forum for Theological Education Dissertation Fellowship and named a Sharon Fluker fellow. 

Dr. Robert has served the academic guild of religion as a Board Member with the Society of Christian Ethics. In this capacity, she was the first student to be nominated and elected by both the student membership and the Society with voice and vote privileges as a result of a historic change to the Society’s bylaws. Under Dr. Robert’s landmark tenure, she developed a student mentorship program and the inaugural Senior-Scholar in residence initiative. She also helped to reorganize the governing structure of students into a two-part entity that includes (2) Student Caucus Representatives and (2) Student Board Members. Also, Dr. Robert secured an unprecedented 100 percent increase in student funded initiatives. 

Dr. Robert currently serves as a steering committee member for the Liberation Theologies group at the American Academy of Religion. She has also served on the planning committee for the Political Theology Network conference at Union Theological Seminary and Columbia University.