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Ph.D. Candidate, Higher Education, University of Pennsylvania

Elaine W. Leigh is a PhD Candidate in Higher Education at University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. Her research interests include policies and practices that address inequities in college access and completion for underrepresented students and the role of postsecondary education in community and economic development. Elaine has previously interned at the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and at the Institute for Higher Education Policy and, prior to her studies, managed nonprofit college access programming and taught middle school science in Philadelphia. Her dissertation explores how cross-sector, or “collective impact” education collaborations advance systems change through their formation of organizational networks and postsecondary access and completion strategies. Elaine's research focusing on college promise programs and their implementation have been published in various outlets including Research in Higher Education, Educational Researcher, American Behavioral Scientist, and AERA Open.


  • –present
    PhD Candidate, Higher Education, University of Pennsylvania