Laurel.June 2011 crop v2

My passion is 21st century learning.

I am a PhD Candidate in Communication at the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. My dissertation examines the learning cultures of several youth programs whose aims are educational yet non-academic, paying particular attention to how the culture of each program relates to its participants’ learning outcomes.  Do learning cultures that support engagement, empowerment, and connection predict participants’ 21st century learning (defined by the National Research Council as learning that cultivates skills across cognitive, intrapersonal, and interpersonal domains)?

In my work as an Instructional Design Specialist with the USC Dornsife Joint Educational Project and as a consultant to several non-profits that provide arts programming for youth, I utilize a participatory learning approach; that means that I work alongside participants to collaboratively design, implement, and assess educational experiences. The curricula I co-develop always seek to enrich youths’ social and emotional competence and to leverage analog and digital media.

My principal research interests include:

  • Participatory learning
  • Social and emotional learning
  • New media literacies & traditional media literacy
  • Powerful play, a mode that combines fun with experimentation in hopes of facilitating transformative outcomes (e.g., joy, learning, rapport)
  • Amplifying participants’ voices in program monitoring and evaluation (especially for arts-based interventions)

I’m proud to have earned a Bachelor of Science in Social Policy from Northwestern University and a Master of Arts in Child Development from Tufts University.

I’m prouder still of my rich professional experiences, which include working in the federal government, teaching 2- to 25-year-olds both domestically and internationally, and consulting with various media organizations.

I’m proudest that educators in Los Angeles and around the world have worked with me to co-develop learning experiences that continue to make a difference.

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