Rose's quick wit and lively enthusiasm shine through in conversation. Likewise, the easy energy she undoubtedly brought to the Fighting Bees Track and Field team throughout her time at St. Ambrose.
"Leah's drive, determination, and focus were clear from the beginning," said Student Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Coordinator Fritz Dieudonné. "She was willing to put in the work to meet her goals - whether on the track or in the classroom."
There were times when Rose's homesickness for her family in Ocala, Florida, slowed her down, but it didn't stop her.
"When I first got to St. Ambrose, I was living my best life as every incoming college student does," Rose said. "But then once it got to about October, I was like, ‘Oh, I want to go home.'"
Rose cites Dieudonné and SAU Associate Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ryan Saddler as the main people that kept her at St. Ambrose through her sadness. "They both helped me get so involved, getting me into Black Student Union and showing me all the possibilities and opportunities available at St. Ambrose," she said.
With the support of her teammates and St. Ambrose caring faculty and staff - and lots of trips home - Rose turned her sadness into busyness. This is now Rose's advice for incoming students who may find themselves in her shoes.
"Get involved! It will give you access to the support system you need and will help build your community," she said. "I actually signed up for so much at first that I could not go to all of it. Being involved on the track team kept me here."
In addition to track and field, she worked at Family Resources as a Youth Counselor during all four years of her undergraduate career. She also paid forward that early help and encouragement she received by becoming Saddler's peer assistant and teaching a new student seminar class to all incoming first-years to ease their transition into college.
Leah also credits Head Coach Dan Tomlin, and Assistant Coach Shannon Reschke, who helped Rose grow as a hurdler.
"I absolutely love Coach Shannon!" Rose said.
Rose is certainly not slowing down; she has accepted a new job as Empowerment Coordinator for SNAP Illinois at the Riverbend Riverbend Foodbank. She has received the Peace Corps Prep award with the hopes of a future in the Peace Corps while saving money for law school.
"I want to eventually become a Judge and establish a shelter for teen girls, specifically helping them find a pathway to college," Rose said.
Of course, she also plans to stay in shape but "won't be practicing six to seven days a week" as she does now.
"I hope to get back into weightlifting," Rose said. "And, of course, I'm going to practice hurdles so I can beat Coach Shannon at the next alumni track meet."