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Stephanie Swindle Thomas

Affiliate Professor of Art History
headshot photo of Stephanie Swindle Thomas wearing gray leather jacket and black top

Stephanie Swindle Thomas has made a career out of combining her Art History degrees and multimedia skills with her passion for arts advocacy. Her photographs have been featured in various exhibitions, and she has collaborated with artists, musicians, and directors on arts-related projects around the world. As a teacher and mentor, she emphasizes experiential learning and engaged empathy.

Born in Memphis, Tennessee, she is a third-generation musician who worked for The Blues Foundation and The Metal Museum before returning to Penn State to work at The Palmer Museum of Art. She is a published fiction writer, who leads a virtual writer’s group and storytelling workshops.

  • Education
    • The Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA
      Master of Arts, Art History, 2010; Thesis: “Paul Gauguin and Spirituality”
    • Rhodes College, Memphis, TN
      Bachelor of Arts, Art History, May 2006
  • Courses Taught
    • AA297: Multimedia Arts PR
    • ARTH297: Museum PR
    • Comm495: Multimedia Internships
    • Photo495: Professional Photography Internship
  • Honors + Awards
    • 2013 State College Photo Club, Juror
    • 2017–18 University Staff Achievement Award finalist
    • 2018–19 Staff Spotlight Award, College of Arts and Architecture
  • Exhibitions + Productions
    • 2017 Solo photography exhibition, Give Me Your Portrait, Borland Project Space, Penn State
    • 2018 Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania Photography Exhibition, honorable mention
    • 2019 #BlueBandHype Exhibition, Curator, Penn State
    • 2019 Art Alliance of Central Pennsylvania Photography Exhibition
    • 2019: The Molok, Set Photographer
    • 2019: Cotton Bowl, Penn State Blue Band Videographer
    • 2020 Huntingdon Arts Council Photography Exhibition, Dojo, featuring interns from the College of Arts and Architecture
    • 2021 Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art, Donald M. Robinson Photography Biennial
  • Publications + Presentations
    • 2017: Artist Talk and “Storytelling Through Photography” workshop in conjunction with Give Me Your Portrait solo exhibition
    • 2018: “Expanded Practice: Understanding Space and Place,” panelist, Borland Project Space, Penn State
    • 2018: Visual Resources Association, “Doing It Your DAM Self: Grassroots Effort, Open Source Software” with subsequent publication of a related article, “Designing for Scope, Embracing Drift: Customizing Metadata with Open Source Software and Grassroots Efforts” in the VRA Bulletin
    • 2019: Social Media Strategies Summit, panelist, “How to Best Communicate With And Engage Faculty, Staff & Students: Creative Ways to Share Academic & Research Content on Social”
    • 2020: Artist Talk and Portrait Photography workshop in conjunction with Huntingdon Arts Council, Dojo Photography Exhibition
    • 2020: Field Language: The Painting and Poetry of Warren and Jane Rohrer, Digital Companion, video production
    • 2021: Penn State Teaching and Learning with Technology Symposium, “Creating a Multimedia Internship Program”
    • 2021: Social Media Strategies Summit, “Hybrid Engagement and Community Building through Social Media”
    • 2017-2021: Weekly multimedia workshops on various topics and expertise levels to groups and classes at Penn State
  • Service + Affiliations
    • Penn State Alumni Association
    • FastStart Mentorship Program Mentor
    • Penn State Multimedia Group
  • Expertise

    Social media and marketing; digital media trends and analytics; Adobe Creative Suite; photography; videography; lighting; audio; data asset management software; curatorial; arts writing and interviewing; mentoring; documentary production