Leanne Davis

(she, her, hers)

Managing Researcher, Postsecondary Success

Leanne believes that postsecondary education can drive upward socioeconomic mobility and expand access to key opportunities to reducing cycles of poverty that keep individuals and communities from thriving. Her research centers on issues of access and equity during transitions in the educational pipeline and on how policies and practices help or hinder a student’s ability to complete a postsecondary credential. She hopes to understand how different contexts influence students’ pathways to a degree, how social identities shape students’ experiences and success, and which levers best support equitable community college student success.

Leanne’s background is in working at the intersection of research, policy, and practice. She is currently co-principal investigator of a National Science Foundation Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (S-STEM) Research Hub focused on STEM affordability and exploring non-tuition barriers for community college students from low-income backgrounds. Previously, she was at The Hope Center at Temple University leading work on addressing students’ basic needs. Before Hope, Leanne spent three and a half years at the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) in Washington, D.C., where she led research, policy, and advocacy projects centering on equitable access to and success in postsecondary education. Prior to that, she spent nearly 10 years as a college counselor.


  • B.S., Political Science, United States Naval Academy
  • M.A., Higher Education, George Washington University

I could talk for hours about...

Literary fiction, cooking & cookbooks, restaurants, hiking, bicycles...

If animals could talk, which would be the funniest?

I'd like to hear what my cats, Dante and Regenia, have to say about living with our family

Is a hotdog a sandwich? Why?

Yes. I'm voting with RBG on this one.

My game plan in a zombie apocalypse is...

I'll run for the nearest helicopter to put my skills to use.

Leanne Davis

Areas of Expertise

  • Postsecondary access and success
  • Postsecondary transfer
  • Basic needs support for postsecondary students
  • Support for students with some postsecondary credit but no degree