I earned my PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus area of Arts in Education. I use artistic practices (primarily photography, textile arts, and storytelling) as methods of data collection, analysis, and research representation. Broadly, I am interested in how artistic practices can help us make sense of the world around us, especially when a life’s narrative in interrupted.

In my non-traditional “braided” dissertation (Miller, 2021), I used creative writing (personal stories, journal entries, and doctor’s charting notes), textile arts (knitting, felting, weaving, and quilting), and photographic practices (black-and-white darkroom work and the cyanotype process) to examine the stories I told–and was expected to tell–about my experience with breast cancer.

As a teacher educator, I’m interested in equity in the classroom and making classrooms better for marginalized students. I have experience working with teachers, schools, districts, and state educational agencies on making change in classrooms.

Selected Publications & Research Artwork

Shopa, A. (2021, May). Good Cop, Bad Cop: The teachers’ lounge [Textile art].

*Shopa, A. (2020). Beyond the shutter’s click: Exploring time and place through photographic studio practices. Journal of Artistic and Creative Education, 14(1).

Shopa, A. (2020, April). Armed educators [Poem]. Major Threat: Punk Rock Academia (a Zine), 2. 

Shopa, A. (2020, February). Eyes on you [Painting]. 

Shopa, A. (2020, February). Jailed [Mixed media visual art]. 

Shopa, A. (2019, May). Schoolhouse [Mixed media sculpture].

*Vandercook, T., Taub, D., Loiselle, T., & Shopa, A. (2020). Why students with severe disabilities are not being placed in general education classrooms: Using the frame of a basic change model to expand the discussion. Research and Practice for Persons with Severe Disabilities, 45(1), 63–68.

Vandercook, T., Sabia, R., Shopa, A., & Lazarus, S.S. (2018, November). 10 reasons to support inclusive school communities for ALL students (Brief #1). Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota, TIES Center.

*Sterner, S. K., Shopa, A. C., Fisher, L. C., Boehm-Turner, A. (2018). “Finding layers in our stories: Using collective memory work to negotiate the self ” in E. R. Lyle (Ed.), Fostering a relational pedagogy: Self-study as transformative praxis. Sense Publishers. 

* Indicates peer reviewed

Selected Presentations

Shopa, A. (2021). Knitting a dissertation diary: Using arts-based research to document (and resist) doctoral work [Paper session]. International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry annual conference, virtual.

Shopa, A. (2021). Using arts-based research to explore the lived experiences of first-gen teachers. In Graduate Research Sessions Marilyn Zurmuehlen Working Papers Session at NAEA [Invited paper session]. National Art Education Association national conference, virtual. 

Taub, D., Ryndak, D., Vandercook, T. & Shopa, A. (2019) The juxtaposition of culture change, organizational change, and implementation science and sustainable inclusive education: The full meaning of context in inclusive education [Poster presentation]. American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities national conference, Saint Paul, MN. 

Shopa, A. & Knaus, J. (2019). The living curricula of two first-generation teachers: The undercurrents that shape our teaching philosophies [Conference presentation]. International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry annual conference, Champaign, IL. 

Shopa, A. & Lemanski, L. (2019). Story as subversion: The transformative possibilities of teacher disclosure [Conference presentation]. International Congress of Qualitative Inquiry annual conference, Champaign, IL. 

Boehm-Turner, A., Fisher, L. C., Sterner, S. K., Shopa, A. C., (2019). New teacher-scholars examine race and power: A reader’s theater performance of collective memory work [Paper presentation]. American Educational Research Association annual meeting, Toronto, Canada. 

Jimenez, J. P., Sato, M. D., Beaton, J., Shopa, A. (2018). Embodied encounters: Toward a pedagogy of relational witnessing and discomfort. In J. Jimenez (Chair) Building a pedagogical repertoire for teacher educators to support dispositions for equity [Symposium session]. American Educational Research Association annual meeting, New York City, NY.

Jimenez, J. P., Sato, M. D., Shopa, A. C., Smith Peterson, M., Knaus, J. (2017). Take an equity stance: Engaging transformative relational practices in teaching [Workshop session]. Minnesota-NAME Conference, Saint Paul, MN. 

Shopa, A., Sinclair, S. (2015). Exploring choices, creativity, and technology through National Novel Writing Month [Workshop session]. Virginia Association for the Gifted State Conference, Richmond, VA.

Selected Awards

Philanthropic Education Organization Scholar Award (2021-2022)

Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship (University of Minnesota, 2021-2022)

Dissertation Writing Retreat (University of Minnesota, 2021)

Selected Affiliations and Certifications

National Art Education Association (NAEA)

Textile Center (Minnesota) Member

Surface Design Association (SDA)

Minnesota Writing Project Teacher Consultant

Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) certified teacher, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Virginia PreK-6 teacher, gifted education endorsement