Katherine is a PhD student in Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She completed her MA at the UW-Madison in Interdisciplinary Theatre Studies with an emphasis in Theatre for Youth with Dr. Manon van de Water in 2018, and transferred to Ed Psych and Dr. Edward M. Hubbard’s lab to further pursue questions of performance and cognition. She completed her MS in 2020.

Current Labs/Fellowship: Katherine primarily works with her advisor Dr. Edward M. Hubbard in the Educational Neuroscience Lab. She also works with Dr. Erica Halverson in the Community Arts Research Lab in the department of Curriculum & Instruction, and is a 2020-21 art/science fusion Kohler Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Discovery.

Current Projects: A fellowship with the Wallace Foundation addressing questions and practices in out-of-school arts learning with historically marginalize youth; a linguistic analysis study examining construal level and affect using elementary school creative writing; an evaluative project on play in partnership with the Madison Children’s Museum; early dissertation work on pretend play through the lifespan; and more.

Upcoming Conferences: “From the Ground Up: Teaching Artist-Generated Change for Anti-Racist Pedagogy” at the 2021 Children, Youth and Performance Conference–presentation with Kailea Saplan and Molly Mattaini

Research interests: Growing out of her practical experiences as an actor and teaching artist, Katherine’s research is based primarily within the psychological domains of cognitive neuroscience and embodied cognition, and revolves around questions regarding the cognitive mechanisms that underlie pretend play/drama and the ways that pretending impacts learning and development. Her research is grounded in an adaptive, assets-based model of human development, and is interested in how applying mixed methods designs can merge the specificity and generalizability of quantitative research with the flexibility and depth of qualitative research to construct nuanced, meaningful understandings of art and development. The bounded pretend space created by make-believe serves as a fruitful research site for questions regarding how people learn and make meaning. It’s also really fun.

For an introduction to some of my questions, check out my article The Reality of Pretending on the Illuminating Discovery Hub.

(For a full list of projects, conferences, teaching, and publications, please request CV)

The Whoopensocker Show! at Thoreau Elementary School