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Image of Rae Stevenson, Visiting Assistant Professor at the Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking

Rae Stevenson, Ph.D., joins the Taylor Center as a Visiting Assistant Professor, bringing her distinctive blend of social science research that intertwines participatory action research, arts-based methods, and storytelling. Driven by a commitment to empowering youth to tell their stories and envision radical futures, Dr. Stevenson’s work explores how education systems can simultaneously construct social inequality and serve as a potential site of joy and liberation.

Guided by the principles of critical race theory, Black feminisms, and Afro-pessimist thought, Dr. Stevenson centers community engagement, youth empowerment, and social change within her scholarly pursuits. Her dissertation, an innovative arts-based research project with New Orleans students, offers a unique fusion of academic insight and the evocative storytelling found in graphic novels, exploring racialized experiences within the New Orleans school system and challenging authorship conventions in community-engaged scholarship.

With over eight years of experience in designing and implementing socio-political education programs for children and youth, Dr. Stevenson’s passion for youth activism is manifest in initiatives she has created like the Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR) Academy. This 4-week summer program for New Orleans high school students embodies her dedication to nurturing, inspiring, and equipping youth with the tools needed to leverage their collective voices for social change. Additionally, Dr. Stevenson collaborates with the Center for Youth Equity at Tulane University, supporting their YPAR programming focused on reducing youth exposure to gun violence.

Dr. Stevenson is the author of a number of published works, ranging from peer-reviewed journal articles to creative projects. She is the author of “The Light through the Woods,” a children’s picture book about grief, and has forthcoming publications in a number of upcoming indie comics anthologies. She is a McNair Scholar and an alumna of the National Education for Women’s Leadership of Oregon, and received the Mellon Fellowship in Community Engaged Research from Tulane University.

Dr. Stevenson is excited to support the Taylor Center’s mission, leading dynamic Changemaker Initiatives in youth participatory action research (YPAR) within Tulane and the broader New Orleans community. Her unique approach, bridging traditional research and arts-based storytelling, aims to  foster a collaborative environment rich in social justice, innovation, and creativity.

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