- Ph.D. 2015 – North Carolina Sate University, Educational Research and Policy Analysis
- M.P.A. 2008 – North Carolina Central University, Public Administration
- B.A. 1996 – Winston-Salem State University, Art Education
Vanessa started her career in K-12 art education and became interested in community connections and issues of diversity through her work with the NC Museum of Art and non-profit organizations. She spent 20 years as a classroom teacher, during which time she continued her studies and research with a specific interest in representation and imagery in publicly funded spaces. Vanessa has worked with Duke’s Literacy Through Photography program, Chatham County government, and many museums. She is an active member of the National Art Education Association having served on its Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion task force.