Award-winning advocate for student parents in higher ed; founder Generation Hope
“Nicole Lynn Lewis has had it rough. Her journey through college as a teen mom is authentic and moving. Reading Pregnant Girl, you will learn something important about race, poverty, and gender and how they play a role in teen pregnancy. And you will learn something about how hope can win over adversity.” —Soledad O’Brien
Nicole Lynn Lewis is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Generation Hope, a nonprofit organization that engages education and policy partners to drive systemic change and provides direct support to teen parents in college as well as their children through holistic, two-generation programming to ensure all student parents have the opportunities to succeed and experience economic mobility. She is the author of the memoir, Pregnant Girl (Beacon Press), which the New York Times called “required reading” and NPR named a Best Book of 2021. Lewis has been distinguished as a CNN Hero, named one of the inaugural Black Voices for Black Justice Award, which “recognizes incredible leaders who have been on the frontlines working to dismantle the deep-rooted, racist systems that have plagued our country for centuries,” and received the Boulder Fund award through Education Leaders of Color, which “supports the innovations of leaders of color in education.” She was the national grand prize winner of the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award and has been featured on major news outlets including Good Morning America, CNN, NBC Nightly News, and The Washington Post. A sought-after speaker about teen pregnancy and parenting, youth development, student parents, college completion for marginalized populations, goal achievement, and self-empowerment, she has given two TEDx talks and speaks at schools, colleges, and youth and teen support organizations across the country.
Generation Hope surrounds motivated teen parents and their children with the mentors, emotional support, and financial resources that they need to thrive in college and kindergarten, thereby driving a two-generation solution to poverty. A former teen mother who put herself through the College of William & Mary with her three-month old daughter in tow, Lewis now works every day to change the statistic that less than 2 percent of teen mothers will earn their degrees before age 30. Generation Hope rallies around teen parents to help them earn college degrees and forge a path to economic opportunity and is now expanding its work nationally to help colleges and universities and policymakers across the country better meet the needs of the nearly 4 million parenting students who are working toward their degrees.
Lewis is a member of the board of trustees of Trinity Washington University and a National Advisory Board member of The Hope Center for College, Community, and Justice. Most recently, she was honored as a 2021 Luminary in Economic Mobility by The 1954 Project alongside four other innovative Black leaders in educational equity.
Lewis holds a Master’s degree in Social Policy and Communication from George Mason University and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the College of William & Mary. She and her husband, Donté Lewis, live in Maryland with their five children.
Praise for Nicole’s Talks
“Nicole is truly inspiring! Many of the young women who listened to Nicole’s presentation became enthusiastic about attending college, ending abusive relationships, and planning for their futures. Because of Nicole, they want to make positive changes in their lives.”
—Kenya Wiggins, Youth Professional Development
“Nicole presented at Project Opportunity’s Ninth Annual Networking Conference and because of her shared knowledge, information and expertise, we are able to be more resourceful to our young mothers. Her dedication and enthusiasm are truly recognized!”
—Elizabeth Link, Project Opportunity
“I appreciate the time and effort Nicole put into making both her keynote and workshop session so very valuable for our conference attendees. As a conference planner working with many speakers for several conferences, I appreciate her attention to detail, her timely communications, and the time she took to really understand our audience. It was a pleasure to work with Nicole.”
—Michele Dickinson, University of Wisconsin Cooperative Extension
“Nicole’s presentation was such an inspiration to me both on a personal and professional level. Thank you!”
—Dimitri Warren, ALIVE!, Inc.
Praise for Pregnant Girl
“Lewis proves that teen mom stories are never simple arcs but constellations of inequities of racism and class that catalyze the chemicals in that pregnancy test. Her prose [in Pregnant Girl] has the power to undo deep-set cultural biases about poverty and parenthood. It should be required reading for every lawmaker who will vote on whether to make the current child tax credit permanent policy.”
—New York Times
“Nicole Lynn Lewis has had it rough. Her journey through college as a teen mom is authentic and moving. Reading Pregnant Girl, you will learn something important about race, poverty, and gender and how they play a role in teen pregnancy. And you will learn something about how hope can win over adversity.”
“Makes a compelling case for the multifaceted approach that is necessary to ensure that all young people—particularly our youth of color and young parents—are able to make the choice to pursue a college education, earn a degree, and lead thriving lives. . . . It is an approach that is deeply rooted in the belief and call to action that is core to this book—that all young people are worthy of an education, worthy of resources and opportunity, and worthy of our every effort to help them reach their potential and soar.”
—Dr. John King, 10th US secretary of education under President Obama
“A frank, thoroughly contextualized portrayal of Black teen motherhood.”
“Told with empathy and nuance, Pregnant Girl is a remarkable and heart-wrenching memoir from an inspiring leader.”
“Pregnant Girl is not just a powerful memoir; it’s an empowering guide for all of us. Nicole Lynn Lewis shows us that all our journeys matter, and the beauty of those journeys is not just the destination but the lessons of the path. I would highly recommend this book to all.”
—Wes Moore, author of The Other Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood