Position title: Admissions Counselor, Wisconsin Initiatives
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Simona holds a B.A. from Emory University in Theatre Studies, an M.A. from the University of Wisconsin–Superior in Communicating Arts, and completed Ph.D. work at the University of Missouri–Columbia in Theatre and Performance Studies. Simona has earned a Ph.D. minor in College Teaching, as well as Graduate Certificates from the University of Missouri–Columbia in both Multicultural Education and Community Development.
Simona identifies as Latinx, first-generation in college/M.A./Ph.D., Mahayana Buddhist, artist, organizer, educator, mother, friend, truth seeker, and overall busy body.
Simona contributes to several professional organizations, including the UW–Madison Academic Staff Assembly, UW–Madison Latinx Academic Staff Association, Greater Madison Latino Professionals Association, Nuestro Mundo Community School’s Family and School Alliance, Mizzou’s Rollins Graduate Honor Society, Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, Inc., WACAC, and NACAC.
Simona has spent over twenty years working for social justice through the development of Applied Theatre companies in Atlanta, GA; Madison, WI; Columbia, MO; and the Twin Ports (Duluth, MN / Superior, WI) communities. Their community-based projects range from managing the Bridge-Lake Point-Waunona Neighborhood Center in Madison, WI, to Assistant Directing the inclusive theatre company Encore Studio for the Performing Arts, to facilitating youth-led theatre arts programs across the United States.
At the University of Missouri, Simona taught Acting for Non-Majors; Introduction to Performance Studies; Adaptation of Literature for the Stage: Performance Praxis, “Race,” and Education; Honors Humanities Colloquium: Creativity for the Non-Arts Major; and Biological Engineering Design: Creativity. Simona has also guest-lectured at Emory University in both the Race & Contemporary Drama and the Aesthetics & Criticism of Theatre courses. Their most recent creative work has focused on exploring ways to leverage the creative assets of various communities toward civic engagement through trauma-informed arts as Principal of Caring Community Arts and Performance, LLC. Their research interests include: the intersection of higher education and community development, civic engagement, trauma-informed art making, Theatre of the Oppressed, and Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Simona’s recent recognitions include the Catalyst Award from the LGBTQ Resource Center at the University of Missouri, and the Woman of Color in Higher Education Award from the University of Wisconsin System.
Simona loves vociferous song and dance, irreverent banter, debating politics and worker’s rights, and contemplating theories of creativity. Their hobbies include organizing block parties, Ballet Folklorico, Argentine tango, Native American flute, and distance biking.