Kristen Shahverdian is the program manager of free expression and education at PEN America, developing campus engagements and public events related to free expression and education. Teaching has been a consistent interest throughout her career: After a decade in dance and choreography, she began researching best practices for participatory art projects and how to teach art that depicts violence and traumatic events. She previously served as a project manager for the Philadelphia Folklore Project, and facilitated workshops on trauma and art at the College Art Association and Dance Studies Association. She is also a writer and editor at the online dance journal thINKingDANCE.
Before joining PEN America, she was a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and previously was an adjunct professor at Rowan University and Temple University. She received her BA in history and dance from Hamilton College, her MFA in dance from Temple University, and her MA in socially engaged art from Moore College of Art & Design.