Leah Kral and her husband Rick served together in Jamaica as Peace Corps volunteers. They worked in inner-city Kingston from 2002-2004, where Leah taught information technology at a teachers' college and founded a campus chapter of Habitat for Humanity.
After completing their service Leah and Rick both came to Duquesne University as Peace Corps Fellows, Rick in the Graduate School of Business Administration, Leah in the Policy Center. Of her experience in the Policy Center Leah wrote, "After two years living on a fairly meager income as a Peace Corps volunteer, graduate school had seemed like a financial impossibility. Thankfully, the Community Development Fellowship enabled me to afford a quality graduate education, while at the same time gaining valuable experience working in the local community.
During her first year in the Policy Center Leah worked part-time as a Fellow for the City of Pittsburgh's workforce development initiative. "During my time there, I gained valuable experience participating in program evaluation. I learned much about monitoring the quality of contracts with community service providers. I gained a sense for the challenges faced by communities in administering and monitoring grants to achieve the best possible outcomes, no small task.
"Duquesne provided an opportunity to spend a summer studying European management at The University of Cologne, Germany. Courses such as 'Research Methods' and 'Quantitative Analysis' in particular provided critical and analytic skills that I use on a daily basis. Particularly memorable was the opportunity to work closely with Fr. Sawicki and Dr. Moors on a master's thesis on a topic I cared deeply about, property rights. Both the degree and the fellowship opened up career opportunities in the policy world that I wouldn't have had otherwise."
After graduating from Duquesne, Leah and Rick moved to Washington, D.C., where Leah began a one-year, paid program in nonprofit management run by the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation. After completing that program she was hired by one the foundation's grantees, The Mercatus Center at George Mason University, a research center that focuses on the role of markets in moving nations from poverty to prosperity. There Leah works directly with the chief operating officer in a management and program evaluation role.