About Me

Laura-Ann Jacobs is a doctoral student at the University of Michigan School of Education specializing in Literacy, Language, and Culture. Prior to her doctoral program, Laura-Ann taught public high school English in South Carolina for six years. Her research explores education beyond the context of schools and literacy beyond traditional understandings of texts. She is interested in how people learn about their identities and in how they make their mark on the world. Her current work explores how researchers and teachers investigate their own identities for the purpose of considering how they can create space for students to to explore and express themselves in classroom contexts.

I asked my three best friends to write a bio for me:

Laura Ann Jacobs grew up in Lawrenceville, GA in the same neighborhood as long time friend, Stephanie Corkery's, kindergarten boyfriend. She attended undergrad at Furman University, where she met Stephanie Corkery, and continued on there to get her Masters in Education. She was on the improv team, Improv!able Cause, along with others such as Stephanie Corkery. She taught high school English in Spartanburg, SC for several years. She later received a scholarship to study at University of Michigan, only a hop skip and a jump from Stephanie Corkery, who was living in Chicago at the time. In her free time (good luck!), Laura Ann enjoys all you can eat buffets, murder mystery parties, video games, and spending time with her good friend, Stephanie Corkery.

--Stephanie Corkery--

LA Jacobs is an educator, researcher, performer, and writer. After teaching highschool for six years, she is currently pursuing a PhD at the University of Michigan. Her work focuses on youth empowerment, self-realization, and broadening the scope of literary canon in the classroom.

--Tyler Nichols--

Laura-Ann Jacobs hails from Lawrenceville, GA, where she fell in love with theatre and Tyler Nichols. While diligently earning her BA in English and Masters of Education at Furman University, she filled her nights and weekends with improv comedy performances and dedication to the sisters of Chi Omega. After spending many years tirelessly teaching high school English in South Carolina, she decided it was time to make a move to the Midwest to study how education can be improved for students and teachers via a doctoral program at the University of Michigan. She can quote every line of Mean Girls and the Lord of the Rings trilogy and loves to have fun with friends at all-you-can-eat buffets, football games, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and murder mystery parties.

--Mary Beth Smith--


"Creativity is often thought to be merely a less formal way of presenting or using the same material, in a more ingenious or inventive way perhaps--a different arrangement of the same blocks. Creativity is not just building or making something, not just variations of form. Creativity is an attitude, a way of looking at something, a way of questioning, perhaps a way of life--it may well be found on paths we have not yet traveled. Creativity is curiosity, joy, and communion. It is process-transformation-process."

--from Improvisation for the Theater, Viola Spolin (1968)


Research Interests

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice -- and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding.

Broadly: Youth Identity and Youth Literacies
More Specifically: Performance as space for youth empowerment
In Particular: Counterstories (and counterstorytelling) as an empowering and transformative space for youth