Based in TICAS’ DC office, Leslie serves as a Senior Policy Associate working to advance TICAS’ federal and state anti-poverty and basic needs agenda. Prior to joining TICAS, Leslie was a Policy Associate at The Hope Center at Temple University, an action research center using research, technical assistance/educational training, and policy to advance students’ basic needs. Her experience includes working on federal and state policy and with institutions of higher education to address basic needs insecurity on college campuses. She has also served as a fellow for the Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellowship, a selective national leadership development program addressing the complex causes and solutions to hunger and poverty in the U.S. through field and policy work. Leslie completed her field work at the Houston Food Bank and policy work at The Hope Center, where she led a project on student barriers in accessing SNAP, TANF, and the CCDF.

Leslie was raised in South Texas and received her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas, becoming a Presidential Award Receipt and a McNair Scholar in the process. As a first-generation college graduate, Leslie understands the importance of improving access and equity within higher education, especially for students from low-income backgrounds and students of color.