Dr. Leap’s research interests focus on gangs and at risk youth.  Her current work is designed to reduce community-based violence and promote pro-social attitudes within violence-plagued neighborhoods, informing policymakers and practitioners through rigorous research and evaluation based knowledge and evidence.  As part of these efforts, Dr. Leap is currently the senior policy advisor on Gangs and Youth Violence for Lee Baca, Sheriff of Los Angeles County.   She also serves as an advisor on Gangs and Youth Development programs for the Los Angeles City Council Ad Hoc Committee on Gang Violence and Youth Development, and the Los Angeles Unified School District Safety and Violence Prevention Executive Advisory Committee.  As part of the Advancement Project, Dr. Leap helped to organize and establish the Violence Reduction Applied Research Group, which is charged with developing suggested evaluation measures for anti-gang programs in Los Angeles City and County.  Additionally, Dr. Leap is affiliated with the Edmund G. “Pat” Brown Public Policy Institute, serving as an evaluator and advisor for their community-based programs. Along with her efforts in Los Angeles, Dr. Leap serves as an expert reviewer on gangs for the National Institute of Justice.  She has testified at local, state and federal legislative committee hearings and at numerous Congressional briefings.  Additionally, Dr. Leap has spoken nationally and internationally on gang violence and youth development.  She also has served as an expert in death penalty sentencing hearings and has offered expert testimony in criminal cases involving youth and emerging adults.  As a result of this work, Dr. Leap now serves as the director of the UCLA Life History and Social Justice Project. 


Community - Organizational - Global