As director of programs and community engagement, Leah works to hit the sweet spot of designing smart yet fun programs that get Hoosiers to explore big ideas and take part in meaningful conversations. Right now, for Quantum Leap, she’s plotting field trips to sites of scientific discovery, organizing a Hoosier women-in-STEM Wikipedia editathon and gearing up to have 100 communities statewide join us in a statewide read of Frankenstein. She’ll see you on the trail during one of our Next Indiana Campfires and hopes to mix it up with you at TILT.
Since joining the team in late 2014, Leah’s been focused on scaling Indiana Humanities programs across the state—she’s a self-described process person—while also creating one-of-a-kind special events in Indianapolis (a humanities pitch competition, the annual historic bar crawl and a slew of INconversations). There’s nothing she loves more than sitting down with a partner to imagine a new program and figure out how to make it happen.
Leah believes deeply in the importance of the humanities and the power of teaching and understanding to enrich the lives and open the imaginations of ordinary people. This faith has guided her career in the broad, eclectic and emerging field of public humanities, including as a program officer with the New York Council for the Humanities and as resident history educator with the American Social History Project based at the City University of New York. At the New York Council, Leah launched the Humanities Centers Initiative, an innovative partnership between a state council and seven university-based humanities centers that included Public Humanities Fellowships for graduate students to explore the public dimensions of their scholarly interests. In partnership with the Great Books Foundation, she created Talking Service, a national reading and discussion program for veterans. She also worked on the award-winning Community Conversations program, introducing toolkits for talking about democracy, environmental stewardship and immigration, among other themes. While at ASHP, Leah led the creation of an online resource for teaching U.S. social history and helped lead training workshops for public school teachers.
Leah started her career as a high school U.S. History teacher with Teach For America in Charlotte, North Carolina. Originally from Greensburg, Indiana, Leah holds an MA in public humanities from Brown University and a BA in history and East Asian Studies from Indiana University. She loves big trees, Peruvian textiles, old buildings and people and experiences that don’t fit neatly into categories. You can friend her on Goodreads to see what she’s been reading lately.