Dr. Leah Lessard is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, working with Dr. Rebecca Puhl. She earned her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of California Los Angeles and was a recipient of the Millard Madsen Distinguished Dissertation Award.
Dr. Lessard’s research focuses on how social experiences steer development during adolescence. Her work emphasizes the consequences of social marginalization on educational trajectories and calls attention to peer contexts that promote educational resilience among socially marginalized youth (e.g., based on body weight, sexual orientation, race/ethnicity). By identifying protective factors at different contextual levels (e.g., friendships, school norms), her research offers multiple points of intervention to promote inclusion within schools and equalize opportunities for success.