Program Staff Profiles

Photo of Professor Katie Dawson

Katie Dawson

Katie is an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at The University of Texas at Austin and serves as Director of the Drama for Schools program. Her areas of research include community-engaged outreach programs, arts integration, youth theatre, museum theatre, drama-in-education, theatre-in-education, and teaching artist praxis. She is the former coordinator of the Science Comes Alive interactive theatre program at the California Science Center. She spent three years as a classroom teacher and over twenty-five years facilitating arts integration lessons in schools in Ohio, Chicago, Montana, California, Texas, Washington D.C., and the northern interior of Alaska. Katie was named the 2005 Winifred Ward Scholar by the American Alliance for Theatre and Education for excellence as an emerging scholar and practitioner. She has facilitated trainings, presented workshops, and given interactive keynotes at numerous locations including: The University of Southern California, Texas State University, New York University, Southeast Center for Education and the Arts, Young Audiences of Northeast Texas, Theatre Action Project, mindPOP, Illinois Theatre Association, Texas Theatre Educators Association, Texas Association of Museums, Texas ASCD, the Dana Foundation, American Alliance of Theatre and Education, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and the American Educational Research Association. Her scholarship has been published in Youth Theatre Journal, International Journal of Education and the Arts, RiDE: The Journal of Applied Theatre and Performance, and the International Journal for Learning through the Arts, among others. Her play, No Problem, is published by Dramatic Publishing. Katie worked as an actor in repertory theatres in Chicago, Alabama, Montana, and Los Angeles. She developed and sold two children’s television shows and made multiple guest appearances on talk shows (Donnie and Marie, Bob Saget, Ellen) modeling inquiry-based activities for families.

Dossett Headshot

Lara Dossett

Lara is the Professional Learning Coordinator for Drama for Schools (DFS). She programs and implements drama-based pedagogy professional development through DFS’s partnerships with schools, school districts, and the Austin Independent School District's Creative Learning Initiative. Lara manages and educates a team of graduate students who serve as the Teaching Artists for Drama for Schools work. She also serves as an Instructor for the DFS Summer Institute: Activating Learning Through the Arts and Arts Integration for Multidisciplinary Connections offered through the College of Fine Arts. She received her M.F.A. in Drama and Theatre for Youth and Communities from The University of Texas at Austin where she researched sustainable models for arts-based instruction in K-12 public schools. Prior to attending graduate school, Lara worked in the Chicago Public Schools through artist residencies with Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Writers Theatre, and Timeline Theatre in Chicago. She has worked throughout the country and internationally instructing teachers on how to facilitate powerful learning in and through the arts. Lara has presented her practice-based work and research at several national conferences including the American Alliance of Theatre Educators, Southeast Center for Education through the Arts and internationally at the International Drama in Education Institute (IDEIRI) in Limerick, Ireland. Her most recent projects include facilitating drama-based pedagogy professional development in South Australia and Croatia.

Photo of Dr. Stephanie Cawthon

Dr. Stephanie Cawthon

Stephanie is an assistant professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin. She has training in research design, assessment, and instructional strategies for students with special needs. She serves as the Director of Research and Evaluation for the Drama for Schools program. Her background includes expertise in language and literacy development and educational psychology. Stephanie has experience with multiple research strategies, including both quantitative and qualitative methods. Her previous research methodologies include survey design, classroom observations, teacher interviews, focus group studies, and policy analysis.