Who I am; what I do
I am a community-engaged scholar and artist who received my A.M. (MSW equivalent) from the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration and my B.A. in Theatre and Creative Nonfiction Writing from Northwestern University. I use place-based and arts-based methods to explore collective care strategies which foster belonging, healing, and resistance among people who experience present and historical marginalization from our current societal structures.
Much of my work has taken place in schools and public parks - spaces where young people and communities access connection, education, resources, and a sense of purpose, often amidst community violence and generational trauma. In these spaces, I have taken on multiple roles: teaching artist, community organizer, social worker, and researcher. I have seen firsthand how participating in certain programs - often young people in arts programs in the context of my experience - has allowed participants to let go, to breathe, to develop a sense of self and worth and belonging.
My work at GSSW
At GSSW, I work with Dr. Kim Bender and a team from the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless on a participatory research process exploring peer programming, mutual aid, and social capital among young people experiencing homelessness and housing instability.
Dr. Bender and I are also co-leading a project exploring the role of mutual aid during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more about our study in the Denver Post.
I also work with with Dr. Shannon Sliva and the DU Prison Arts Initiative to explore how participation in arts programming impacts residents of the Colorado Department of Corrections.
Across my work, I am committed to the integration of arts-based research methods, alongside participatory, critical and qualitative research methodologies.