Karen-Elizabeth Moroski, Ph.D.
In the position of Co-Curricular Programs Coordinator for Writing and Languages, Karen-Elizabeth Moroski provides support for daily operations in the Penn State Learning tutoring centers, teaches courses in pedagogy, and supervises the Writing and Language Tutors.
Karen returns to Penn State after spending six years at Binghamton University, where she defended her doctoral project in critical theory and trauma studies this spring. Though she remains terribly fond of New York state, Karen feels delighted to return to Penn State – and especially to Penn State Learning – where her teaching journey began.
In the time that has passed since, Karen has developed scholarship and nonprofit administration experience that focuses on intersectional, multi-disciplinary methodologies. Karen served as the Program Coordinator of the LGBTQ+ non-profit The Lesbian and Gay Family Building Project from 2011-2016, where she worked to eliminate health disparities and increase community capacity and development for families with one or more queer-identified parents. This work meshes well with, and informs, her academic studies. Karen's scholarly pursuits focus on the intersections of affective neuroscience, critical theory, trauma studies and "writing the self." She specializes in tracing the social, ecological and physiological consequences of trauma in marginalized communities – particularly the LGBTQ+ community, noted for its non-biological ties and its continued reconfiguration. In short form, this means Karen explores the ways in which trauma and living in a difficult world make us not just mentally/emotionally “different,” but actually physiologically so – and how those differences change how we tell our stories.
A 2016 winner of the Alfred J. Bendixen Prize for Distinguished Teaching by a Graduate Student in English and the 2016 winner of the New York State Graduate Student Excellent in Teaching Award, Karen loves to be in the classroom and has taught a wide array of courses, ranging from feminist theory to post-structuralism to critical race theory to writing studies. She loves it all, and is glad to continue her teaching work at Penn State. In Spring 2017, she co-teaches CI200 with Penn State Learning’s Director, Dr. Neill Johnson.
As an undergraduate at Penn State from 2007-2011, Karen held the PSL positions of Writing Tutor, Writing Tutor Coordinator, and Dangling Modifier Editor; she has, then, been a part of every level of the Writing Program she now supervises. She was first trained and taught by Cindy Spiegel, and has now assumed Cindy’s former position within PSL: it’s a beautiful, full-circle kind of thing. Karen had also been an intern at the Penn State LGBTQA Student Resource Center, an editor of The OUTRider, and a Straight Talks Pro panelist. She’s glad to be back helping to work alongside and shape the programs that meant so much to her during her undergraduate years here. She thinks administrators who stay active in the lives and communities of their students are able to save lives, shape trajectories, build foundations and launch incredible adventures. It matters.
Karen holds a BA in English and dual minors in History and Sexuality & Gender Studies from Penn State (2011). She earned her MA in English (specializing in Critical Theory, Affective Neuroscience and Trauma Studies) from Binghamton University (2013), and completed her doctoral degree in English (specializing in Critical Theory, Affective Neuroscience, and Trauma Studies) in 2017.
Office: 206 Boucke
Phone: (814) 865-0259