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Rachel DeSoto-Jackson is a Latinx educator, DEI facilitator, and executive leader with over 10 years of experience in higher education and community organizations. In her current role, she is an Associate Professor of Applied Theatre at Indiana University of Pennsylvania where she also serves as Director of the Center for Teaching Excellence. Rachel has developed and facilitated workshops, presentations, and course designs on various applications of Applied Theatre and its interdisciplinary use in building empathetic communication and diversity, equity, and inclusion practices within community, corporate, and classroom settings.
She is a grant recipient for her research in empathy and simulation performance. In 2020 she received the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and Kennedy Center American College Theatre Award for Innovative Teaching for her use of diversity and inclusion practices in higher education pedagogy. She currently leads the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed international organization as the Co-President and serves on the editorial review board of the organization’s journal. Her work expands to partnerships with the Smithsonian Latino Center and serving on the steering committee for the Latinx Theatre Commons. Her recent publication includes the book chapter “A Process-Oriented Approach in Applied Theatre Programming with Youth” in Applied Theatre: Working with Youth (2021) edited by Lisa Brenner, Chris Ceraso, and Evelyn Diaz. Rachel received an MFA in Performance in Pedagogy with a specialization in Theatre of the Oppressed from the University of Pittsburgh along with an MA in Theatre and Performance Studies, and MA Certificate in Film Studies.