an equity-minded student affairs professional, focused on the Black student experience within university theatre programs
Chelsea Whitaker is the Residential Life Coordinator for special interest housing at Tufts University, including overseeing arts students and marginalized communities.
Holding a BA in Theatre and African & African-American Studies from Washington University in St. Louis and an MA in Higher Education and Student Affairs from The Ohio State University, Chelsea's current research focuses on the Black student experience within college theatre programs. Her passion for this particular student population stems from her own experiences as the only theatre major of color at a predominantly white institution (PWI), intrigued by the intersection of the theoretical underpinnings of authentic expression onstage and an authentic identity offstage, complicated by systems of oppression faced by Black students.
After graduating from WashU in 2015, Chelsea continued to perform onstage in Madison, WI, and St. Louis, MO, with social justice-focused theatre companies. Moving to Columbus, OH, to pursue graduate education, Chelsea advised Ohio State's only non-profit student-led theatre organization. Additionally, she worked with a neighboring theatre department to create arts-based identity development workshops, community dialogues, and climate assessments during a racial casting controversy. As she continues her career in higher education, Chelsea hopes to assist college theatre departments navigate both the institutions they are situated in and the oppressive structures their students face through a racial equity lens.