A headshot of PhD candidate Alesandra Zsiba.

PhD in Creativity

PhD candidate Alesandra Zsiba is the Founding Artist and Director of The Identity Project, an award-winning school-based adaptive intervention for underserved Native American and Latinx youth throughout the Southwest U.S.


As Founding Artist and Director of The Identity Project, Zsiba supports youth with trauma histories to author self-healing narratives through school-based adaptive interventions in documentary storytelling, critically reflective identity work, and self-as-subject inquiry. Her doctoral path delves into the foundational and enduring questions that drive the The Identity Project forward. Her dissertation examines how interventions that cultivate creativity can interrupt the crisis of self created by trauma and equip the individual with self healing capacities. In particular, Zsiba is interested in using her doctoral path to codify The Identity Project’s program model, curriculum, and pedagogical framework in the evidence-based practices of creative youth development, neuroaesthetics, relational neuroscience, trauma studies and somatic recovery, culturally responsive teaching, and multiple modes of knowing. What elements of creative practice are essential to identity development and the evolution of a sense of self? What is innately healing about originality? What is the author's relationship to her own creativity (her ability to make meaning, and her capacity for originality)?

Alesandra Zsiba