Tara McGowan '01

After graduating from the Teacher Preparation Program in 2001, I worked as an affiliated artist in a nonprofit storytelling organization founded by Princeton alumna, Susan Danoff. Through TPP, I attended several of Susan's teacher workshops, which were held on Princeton campus, and I became her intern. When I did my practice teaching in the 5th grade in the Montgomery School district, I designed a storytelling unit for the students. In their evaluations, many of them said that this had been the best part of my teaching because I so clearly loved what I was doing. These student comments have served me well in my career because they made me realize how much students benefit from teachers who are emotionally engaged and have a passion for what they do. 

My residency work with Trenton students in visual storytelling forms--particularly kamishibai (Japanese paper theater)--led to my first book: The Kamishibai Classroom: Engaging Multiple Literacies through the Art of 'Paper Theater' (ABC-CLIO, 2010). I received my PhD from the Reading/Writing/Literacy division of Penn GSE in 2012, and recently published my dissertation under the title: Performing Kamishibai: An Emerging New Literacy for a Global Audience (Routledge, 2015). After graduation, I received a 2-year Mellon Foundation grant to do research on a collection of early educational books at the American Philosophical Society. I recently finished an online exhibition based on this research, titled: "Enlightened Conversation in the 'Kennebec Kingdom' of Sarah Manning Vaughan (1753-1834)" http://research.apsmuseum.org/exhibits/show/sarah-manning-vaughan

My freelance storytelling work in museums, schools, and libraries has impressed upon me the importance of offering community based learning experiences that nurture life-long learning. My own passion for research and creative engagement with audiences is spurred by my motivation to keep learning and to share my discoveries with others. Today, I am living in Princeton and continuing to research and develop new educational and artistic programming. For more information, please visit my website: www.taramcgowan.com