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Dr. Laura Azzarito’s visual research aims to explore and offer a more problematized picture of the nuances and multifaceted embodied experiences of young people, as well as to consider photo exhibitions as sites of public pedagogies. Within a sociocultural framework, Dr. Azzarito’s use of visual participatory research positions students as active in their construction of knowledge and meanings; and agents of social change, acknowledging that young people may have unique perspectives on social justice issues. Her visual participatory methodology intends to solicit young people’s views of their embodied identities in sites of physical culture, as well as to represent their identities in culturally relevant ways.

Dr. Mary Hafeli's interests involve teaching environments in which students' art works are created, the ideas and ways of thinking that characterize the practices of artists as they produce creative work, and youth and adult perspectives on what constitutes "good" teaching in art. Her focus is in art-based and literary forms as methods in qualitative research. 

Dr. Olga Hubard Orvananos is interested in the humanizing power of art and in how educators can help promote meaningful art experiences for all learners – particularly in museum settings. She is the author of Art museum education: Facilitating gallery experiences and has published numerous articles in academic journals. Her scholarship is informed by years of practice in art and museum education. Olga was a museum educator at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) for nearly a decade, a teaching artist in New York City's public schools, and museum coordinator at a high school, where she infused the curriculum with experiences in New York City's cultural institutions. Through her research, she focuses on the interaction of young people with artworks and the place of the visual arts in the curriculum. 

Dr. Sandra J. Schmidt is an assistant professor in the Program in Social Studies.  Her research brings spatiality into K-12 social studies education to help young people critique their socio-spatial worlds.  Her research often uses photovoice, walking tours, landscapes, and other visual methodologies to help participants capture, represent, and elicit robust depictions of their spatial experiences.  She currently has a Spencer Grant to research spaces of belonging with African newcomer youth.

Faculty Work