Physics alumna examines science education in Africa, China, U.S.

Anne Emerson Leak '08 considers whether girls' persistence or attrition in the sciences is cultural and focuses on the role of science in solving health problems and constraints in developing communities.

From Gettysburg to Cameroon to Kenya, Anne Emerson Leak ’08 has been deeply involved with science education and its benefits.

Leak, a physics major, found her passion as a student by volunteering for the LEGO Robotics program, which empowers middle school girls to get involved with science by building robots in the physics department.

“[Because of that volunteer work], I was really interested in researching issues of access to science education for girls,” she said.

It was Maureen Forrestal in the Provost’s Office, along with her physics professors, who encouraged Leak to apply for a Fulbright scholarship, which she was offered and accepted in Cameroon.

“One of the guiding questions of my Fulbright study was whether girls' persistence or attrition in science was cultural and if similar trends could be found in another country,” said Leak.

She spent months in the West African country, observing classrooms and interviewing students about their experiences, interest, and confidence in science.

Read More