Gregory presented her 2009 SURF research findings at Research Day 2010. She is shown
here with Mentor Resident Assistant Faith Hall '10.
Leah Gregory ’11 was born and raised in Newport News, Virginia,
but she is a traveler at heart. The sociology major (with minors in Spanish, Black
studies and biology) has been to South Africa, Guatemala, Ghana, and Mississippi
while a student R-MC. In 2011 she’ll add Brazil to that list.
Time for Travel
Gregory traveled to Guatemala during J-term of her freshman year. “We built stoves
for Mayan women in the mountain communities to help alleviate respiratory problems
that were caused, in part, by the smoke that was trapped inside the houses," she
says. "It was a great experience because the people were so inviting and grateful.”
A year later, Gregory, her classmates and Professors Scott London (Black studies)
and Kristen Klaaren (psychology) jetted off to South Africa in conjunction with
two R-MC courses: Prejudice, Privilege, and Social Transformation in South Africa
and Social Transformation in South Africa. “We were joined by South African students
from the University of Witwatersrand and the University of Johannesburg,” says Gregory.
“They joined us for several activities, including a safari in Kruger National Park.
It was very special because we got an insider’s view on the culture and also formed
relationships that will last a lifetime.”
Gregory stayed closer to home base in 2009 when she traveled to Mississippi with
R-MC’s Habitat for Humanity organization. “We helped build houses for people whose
homes had been destroyed by Hurricane Katrina,” she says. “It was a very memorable
experience because I knew I was helping people who had lost so much.”
To read more Student Experience stories, click here.
When she’s not traveling, Gregory keeps her feet firmly planted in activities on
Randolph-Macon soil. She is a member of numerous campus organizations, including
Macon Peer Response, Macon Peer Mentors, the Ujima Gospel Choir, Alpha Kappa Alpha
sorority, the Black Cultural Society, and the Women of Color Discussion Group. When
asked to choose her favorite campus organization, Gregory is hard-pressed to give
an answer. “That’s tough,” she says, “because I am such a complex and diverse person.
I enjoy being part of so many campus organizations.”
Gregory participated in the college’s Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship
(SURF) program in 2009. “I did a SURF project with Professor Alphine Jefferson (history)
on African traditional healing and how it is being used to find a cure for HIV/AIDS,”
she says. The project was titled Looking for the Lost Hand: Traditional Healing
and Medicine—Uncovering Africa’s Secret Strategies for Health and Well-Being.
Gregory took things a step further in March 2010 when she presented her SURF research
at the Eastern Community College Social Science Association Conference at Raritan
Valley Community College. “It was a great experience,” she says. Gregory found that
being a presenter was a bit angst-producing. “It was intimidating because the other
presenters each had at least a master’s degree,” she says. “But everyone in the
audience was interested in my topic and suggested ideas for future research. It
was a good experience because I learned how to prepare for a professional scholastic
presentation.” Gregory also presented her findings at R-MC's 2010 Research Day.
“I am probably like a lot of students when I say that I want to do a lot of things
after I graduate from R-MC,” says Gregory. “I know that I want to travel. I am thinking
about joining the Peace Corps and then attending graduate school to earn a degree
in social work or public relations. Eventually I would like to get my doctorate,
but one thing that I have learned is that you cannot plan your life out too much.
I am excited to think about all of the possibilities out there. ”
For information on R-MC’s sociology program, visit
For information on R-MC’s Spanish program, visit
For information on R-MC’s Black studies program, visit
For information on R-MC’s biology program, visit http://www.rmc.edu/academics/biology.aspx
For information on the Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship program, visit
For more information about the breadth of programs and opportunities available at
Randolph-Macon or to schedule a campus visit, contact our Admissions Office at (800)
888-1762 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.