Dr. OJ Oleka, PhD
full bio (PDF)
Dr. OJ Oleka assumed the role of AIKCU President in December 2019. Immediately prior to joining AIKCU Dr. Oleka served as Deputy Treasurer and Chief of Staff for Kentucky State Treasurer Allison Ball.
Dr. Oleka brings a deep understanding of higher education and workforce issues to his new role at AIKCU. In 2019 he was appointed by Governor Bevin to the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education and he has served on a number of state and local workgroups, boards, and committees focused on education and workforce issues.
Dr. Oleka earned his Ph.D. in Leadership in Higher Education in 2020 from Bellarmine University, where he previously earned an MBA. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Louisville, where he served as student body president and chaired the Kentucky Board of Student Body Presidents.
In addition to his experience working with policymakers as Chief of Staff in the Kentucky State Treasurer’s office, Dr. Oleka has directed campaign operations for a statewide gubernatorial campaign. He has served as an adjunct professor and published in peer-reviewed and popular publications. His education experience extends to the K-12 level, where he served Teach for America first as a corps member teaching in an under-resourced public school and later as a regional recruiter.
Chief of Staff
Carol joined AIKCU in January 2020 as assistant to the president, to assist Dr. Oleka and manage AIKCU’s administrative efforts, before becoming Chief of Staff in July 2020. Carol comes to AIKCU with an extensive background in state government and nonprofit associations.
VP of Public Affairs
Mason coordinates AIKCU’s public relations, marketing, and communications efforts and works with President Oleka in the areas of policy and government relations. He manages the data, research, and information needs of the Association. He coordinates the collaborative activities of the member groups for many of AIKCU’s member groups, including: chief academic officers, advancement officers, marketing and communications officers, enrollment officers, institutional research and effectiveness professionals, financial aid officers, student affairs professionals, student success, campus safety, and facilities directors. Mason represents AIKCU on a variety of external postsecondary-related committees and groups.
Mason holds a bachelor’s degree from Centre College, where he double-majored in English and history, and a Master’s of Science in Business Communication from Spalding University. He is an AmeriCorps alumnus and completed additional graduate work in English at the University of Kentucky, where he also taught first year composition.
Prior to joining AIKCU in 2005, Mason worked for Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass in Lexington. He lives in Lexington with his wife, a public school educator, and their three children.
VP of Finance and Administration
Krista plays an integral part in all aspects of business operations at AIKCU. She takes a leadership role in business partner and vendor relationships and coordinates AIKCU’s scholarship programs.
Krista came to AIKCU after most recently serving as executive director of a non-profit agency serving children with special needs. She was previously a community development consultant serving rural, impoverished areas of the state, engaging stakeholders and advocating for communities and families at risk. Krista’s diverse career has provided her opportunities to addresss and improve disparate outcomes across the state. Krista also co-founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving outcomes for children with incarcerated parents.
Krista holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in public administration from Kentucky State University. She is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of the Cumberlands.