Leonova headshot

Emerson Fellow

Sofya Leonova

15th Class, 2008-2009

Originally from Russia, Sofya graduated from the University of Chicago in 2008 with a degree in environmental studies.  She has conducted research on the intersection of environmental, health, and poverty issues at Chicago’s Field Museum, studied conservation and natural resource management in Brazil, and researched the potential for environmental initiatives within Brazil’s agrarian reform settlements.

Field placement: Ladder Up / Center for Economic Progress

Chicago, Illinois

Sofya studied the impact of the economic crisis on low-income families and community service providers.  She conducted community listening sessions and in-depth interviews, identified financial strategies people used to meet basic needs, and explored the ways families connect to government programs and social services.

Policy placement: Prosperity Now

Washington, D.C.

Sofya worked with the federal policy team to examine the impact of asset tests in public benefit programs on people with disabilities, researched the community economic development programs of Federal Home Loan Banks, and tracked the outcome of CFED savings and asset priorities in federal legislation.