Kelly Leach isn’t afraid to spread her wings or explore her interests. The Philadelphia
native headed just a few hours west to begin her first year at Duquesne with her sights
set on a forensic science and law degree.
When her interests changed, she found a solid support system and quickly realized that Duquesne has the breadth and depth to serve all of her academic ambitions.
“I was afraid I couldn't figure out what I wanted to do because I had my heart set
on science for so long and realized it just wasn't for me,” Leach said. “But having
supportive academic advisors, professors and people around me really helped along
Now a history and women’s and gender studies double major, Leach found her niche and never had to narrow her ambitions. And with faculty walking alongside her, she’s figured out what she’s good at and how those talents are good for the world.
“I actually had a professor email me and she said I was doing really great in her class and thought I might like women’s and gender studies. She then referred me to a contact in that program,” said Leach. “It was really beneficial talking with her and she helped set my path to my current major.”
Leach secured an internship in her field of study at Penn Museum in Philadelphia. There, she worked with curators, assisted in the archives among the museum’s millions of artifacts, and collaborated with archeologists on a dig in West Philadelphia.
Back in the classroom, vibrant conversations and faculty who create exciting learning spaces have contributed to a memorable campus experience for Leach. She decided to explore these interests further by studying abroad in Ireland. While there, she traveled with classmates across Europe, visiting Scotland and Italy. She even took a solo trip to France.
“I’ve never traveled before, and the only solo travel I had ever done was to the market,” she joked. “Traveling alone was a very interesting experience and really fun.”
Leach enjoyed exploring each city on foot and was moved by the scenery and architecture – especially a Scottish castle.
She enjoys strolling around Pittsburgh, too. “It’s walkable just like Philadelphia,” she explained. Leach also has fun learning the city’s unique vernacular – know as Pittsburghese – and trying pierogies, a local favorite.
When it’s time to return to Philadelphia, she tends to catch a bus or train back home, wrapping up her schoolwork or enjoying music during the ride.
Graduation is on the horizon, and Leach plans to continue her education by studying library science. From there, she hopes to build a professional path with purpose and capitalize on her internship experience by working in library archives.
With this wealth of experience under her belt, Leach is prepared for anything. She encourages others to explore their interests and ambitions at Duquesne – even if it means time away from home or on an unexpected path. “Go for it and don’t be nervous,” she said. “The support system is so strong.”
December 19, 2023