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DeSoto-Jackson is an assistant professor of Applied Theater, director of SPATE (Simulated Patient/Applied Theater Ensemble), and managing/education director of Footlight Players youth theater at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA
in performance pedagogy, MA in theatre and performance studies, and an MA certificate in film studies from the University of Pittsburgh. As a Chicana/Latina educator, scholar, and theater-maker, her work focuses on promoting equity, diversity, and
inclusion through applied theater methods. Her artistic practice, scholarship, and teaching explore these practices within nontraditional settings and with interdisciplinary fields, including healthcare, food and nutrition, psychology, and criminology.
Rachel currently serves as a board member for the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed organization and on the editorial board of the organization’s journal as well on the steering committee of the Latinx Theatre Commons. She has held fellowships with
the International Performing Arts for Youth organization and been appointed as a K. Leroy Irvis fellow and a Hot Metal Bridge fellow. She has taught locally as a teaching artist for several youth organizations, including Pittsburgh International Children’s
Theater, Saltworks Theatre Company, Alabaster Children's Theatre, City Theatre Company Young Playwrights, and Pittsburgh Center for the Arts.
Rachel has developed workshops, presentations, lectures, and course designs on various applications of applied theatre. She currently teaches the course “The Performance of Caring,” which builds skills in empathy, active listening, and verbal/nonverbal
communication to improve trust and patient/client interaction. She is a current member of the Association for Theatre in Higher Education and the Association for Standardized Patient Educators. Recently she has been a grant recipient for her beginning
research in simulated patient training.