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Shawna is an interdisciplinary scholar completing her PhD in International Relations at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on the role of the arts and humanities in politics, human rights film, performance, narrative, and social movements. She is currently conducting research on the Cambodia Town Film Festival and the classroom as political locations of genocide film. Her forthcoming dissertation title is “Pinching Politics Through Film Narrative: An Ontology and Pedagogy of Genocide Film.”

She is also a teaching and learning professional with a decade of college-level teaching and program management experience. Areas of professional expertise include program building, management through transition, policy development for diversity and equity, instructional design, curriculum development, academic marketing/outreach, and leadership coaching.

She graduated from the University of North Carolina, Wilmington in 2008 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Spanish. She received her M.A. in English with a Graduate Certificate in Human Rights from UConn in 2010, her Graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies in 2013, and her M.A. in Political Science in 2014.