Dionne's work has focused on the design and ethnographic study of learning environments that blend STEM and creative embodied learning activities, particularly for children who have experienced feelings of marginalization in STEM education settings (e.g. African Americans, girls). She is interested in understanding the ways these populations draw on their everyday practices and use their bodies as resources. She explores STEM engagement through making and embodied experienceto construct broader conceptualizations of cognition that substantively intertwine STEM learning and development, attending to the affective, social and emotional while broadening STEM knowledge and understanding.
Dionne is an engineer, dancer, arts educator, and education researcher. Her background and experiences give her a unique perspective for understanding issues related to STEM and children from communities of color as well as an informed perspective on the intersections of arts and sciences, informal and school settings, theory and practice. Trained primarily as a qualitative researcher, she has developed a toolkit that includes video ethnography, participant observation, video and artifact elicitation interview, clinical interview and multimodal analysis.
She is founder of DancExcel, a creative arts center in Gary, Indiana. Her experience running that program include designing and implementing educational programming that infuses science, math, writing and history into music and dance activities. This work has deepened her appreciation for the fact that context matters, that cognition is complex and that understandings are often demonstrated but left unspoken. It also deepened her commitment to exploring both STEM and making opportunities for children of color, thinking not only about how to broaden participation, but also about how to understand, respect, and shed light on the ways in which children already engage, and the strengths that they bring to the table. Dionne is currently developing a research program that studies ways to engage children in authentic STEM experiences and that interrogates and complicates the ways we think about sense-making, particularly within informal learning environments like Makerspaces where STEM is not just STEM, movement can be more than “just” movement, and the pathways to understanding are not linear, normative, or even always predictable.
PhD, Northwestern University (2018), Learning Sciences, School of Education and Social Policy (SESP), Evanston, IL
Dissertation:The STEAM Dance Makerspace: A Context for Integration: An Investigation of Learning at the Intersections of STEM, Art, Making & Embodiment
(Committee: Dr. Reed Stevens (chair), Dr. Carol Lee, Dr. Shirin Vossoughi)
M. Ed., Temple University (2003), Dance Education, Boyer College of Music and Dance, Philadelphia, PA
Thesis:Dance as a key to boosting brainpower and self-confidence in African American children (Advisor: Dr. Kariamu Welsh Asante)
B.S., Florida A&M University (1998), Chemical Engineering, Cum Laude, FAMU/FSU College of Engineering, Tallahassee, FL
Founder and Artistic Director, DancExcel, Champion Center for Creative Arts Education, Gary, IN (2004-Present)
DancExcel is a creative arts center founded in the belief that movement and dance-centered learning can help children acquire the skills, discipline, and confidence to achieve academic success. As director, job responsibilities included teaching dance classes (for ages 2-adult), overseeing the staff while developing and implementing the program curriculum, create dance and arts-infused programming, and producing and directing major educational performance events. I also provided and facilitated educational workshops for area schools, teachers and administrators.
* Creator ofThe Spirit of the Baobab Tree production, a DancExcel “dance-umentary” designed to use music and dance to teach cast members and audiences about African American history. I co-authored the corresponding children’s story book (ISBN-10: 1436378419) and a curriculum guide based on the Indiana State Academic Standards for reading, language arts, social studies, writing and dance that are also used as supplemental teaching tools.
Dance Educator, Roosevelt High School, Gary, IN (2008-2010)
Dance Educator, Boston Renaissance Charter School, Boston, MA (2002-2004)
*Massachusetts Educators License, 2003
Development Engineer, Eastman Kodak Company
Cromwell, F., Champion, D., Steele, M, and Wright, T. (2020). Embodied Physics: Utilizing Dance Resources for Learning and Engagement in STEM. Journal of the Learning Sciences (In Press)
Champion, D.N., Tucker-Raymond, E., Millner, A., Gravel, B., Wright, C.G., Likely, R., Allen-Handy, A. and Dandridge, T.M. (2020), "(Designing for) learning computational STEM and arts integration in culturally sustaining learning ecologies", Information and Learning Sciences, Vol. 121 No. 9/10, pp. 785-804. https://doi.org/10.1108/ILS-01-2020-0018
Champion, D., Tucker-Raymond, E., Gravel, B. (2020). Exploring Computational Making through the Sounds of Hip Hop. In R. Hall (Chair), Designs for Learning with and through Sound. Symposium conducted at the International Conference of the Learning Sciences, San Francisco, CA.
Pratt, L. J., Solomon, F. C., Wright, T., Vandana, S., Steele, M., & Champion, D. (2020, February). Exciting interest in physics and geophysics among young women of color through the medium of dance. In Ocean Sciences Meeting 2020. AGU.
Champion, D. N. (2018). The STEAM dance makerspace: A context for integration: An investigation of learning at the intersections of STEM, art, making and embodiment (Doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University).
Stevens, R., Jona, K., Penney, L., Champion, D., Ramey, K. E., Hilppö, J., ... & Penuel, W. (2016). FUSE: An alternative infrastructure for empowering learners in schools. Singapore: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Champion, D., Penney, L., & Stevens, R. (2016). Developing and recognizing relative expertise in FUSE. In R. Stevens (Chair), FUSE: An alternative infrastructure for empowering learners in schools. In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Singapore.
Ramey, K. E., Champion, D. N., Dyer, E. B., Keifert, D. T., Krist, C., Meyerhoff, P., ... & Hilppö, J. (2016). Qualitative analysis of video data: Standards and heuristics. Singapore: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
Champion, D. & Dyer, E. (2016). Representing Context. In K. Ramey (Chair), Qualitative Analysis of Video Data: Standards and Heuristics. . In Proceedings of the 12th International Conference of the Learning Sciences, Singapore.
Champion, D., Sonke, J., Nixon, S., and Cottler, L., (2020). Connecting with STEM through Movement and Dance. Magazine of the International Child Art Foundation (Volume 20, Issue 2, Number 60)
Champion, D., and Grant, S. (2008). The Spirit of the Baobab Tree.
Faculty Showcase Webinar: Arts in Public Health Practice Models for Engaging Communities, presented September 15, 2020
FabLearn Panel on Hip Hop Making, presented October 11, 2020
Remote Cultures Conversation: How the Arts Build and Maintain relationships During the Pandemic, presented January 26, 2021
Panel: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Trauma and Healing through Music, Dance and Narrative, “Engaging with Racial Histories and the Traumas of Systemic Racism with African American Youth through Music and Dance, "presented February 13, 2021
UF College of the Arts Panel on Improvisation, Race, and Artificial Intelligence, presented March 25, 2021