Lea grew up in Southeastern Minnesota, in a small town of just over one thousand people. They studied the social construction of structural inequality and its relationship to global health at Dartmouth College, and were an activist for LGBTQ* rights and alleviating international health disparities, particularly HIV/AIDS.
Lea conducted research into the neuroscience of learning, the historical efficacy of activist media strategies, and perceptions of privacy in healthcare settings within the Education and Sociology Departments of Dartmouth. During college, Lea had several fascinating internship opportunities at the Boston Center for Refugee Health and Human Rights, the Rwandan Ministry of Health, and Ganas -- a large urban intentional community in New York City -- that helped them understand global mobility, public health, and the construction of community.
After leaving Dartmouth, Lea co-founded Spring Up, a multimedia activist collective creating a space of learning and healing. They traveled around the United States on a four-month road trip, giving workshops about campus violence and organizing at conferences and campuses, and speaking to students from over 40 institutions of higher education.