From research assistants to capstone groups, TASCHA worked with exceptional students this academic year

The 2020-21 academic year has come to a close and TASCHA recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of the outstanding students who contributed to our research. This year we had the pleasure of working with six RAs and over two dozen students in Directed Research Groups and Information School Capstone projects.

Katya Yefimova, a Ph.D. candidate at the Information School driven by her passion for libraries and immigrant communities, has contributed to several efforts at TASCHA– Community Labs in Public Libraries, Refugee Women and Technology Education in Seattle, and Future of Library Programming. 

As a part of this work, this year Katya co-authored a paper: Young, J.C., Boyd, B., Yefimova, K., Wedlake, S., Coward, C., Hapel, R. The role of libraries in misinformation programming: A research agenda. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. October 2020. doi: 10.1177/0961000620966650

Renee Lynch, an English Ph.D. candidate with interests at the intersection of education and activism, has been a core member of the Advancing Library Visibility in Africa project for the past two years. Renee co-authored three articles during this academic year: 

Additionally, Renee had the opportunity to give five presentations at various conferences throughout the year, which included:

  • Libraries for Development: An Update from the ALVA Project, May 2021, 4th AfLIA Conference & 6th African Library Summit  
  • African Libraries as Development Partners in Education, April 2021, CIES (Comparative and Educational Society) Virtual conference – Panel presentation 
  • Neoliberal Partnerships in African Development: Lessons from Libraries, April 2021, CIES (Comparative and Educational Society) Virtual conference 
  • What makes an ideal partner? African Libraries and Neoliberal Discourses in International Development, March 2021, AAAL (American Association of Applied Linguistics) Virtual Conference 
  • Neoliberal Partnerships in African Development: Lessons from Libraries, March 2021, TASCHA Public Library Colloquium 

We welcomed Itza Carbajal, a first-year Ph.D. student and the inaugural recipient of a TASCHA Ph.D. fellowship. Working with Jason Young and the Information School’s Marika Cifor, Itza spent the first quarter of her fellowship designing a research project that will bring archival studies into conversation with education research. The research will examine how and when K-12 educators draw on primary sources to engage in interdisciplinary teaching on environmental change. Little research has been performed on archives’ role within primary and secondary education, meaning that Itza’s work will fill a large gap in the discipline. Itza continued work on this research project in the winter and spring of 2021, when she and the team conducted a series of surveys of teachers, teachers in training, students, and archivists to get their perspective on what’s happening on the ground and in the classroom.

Yvette Iribe Ramirez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Information School who worked on both the Indigenous Connectivity in Peru and Digital Bridge projects this academic year. Yvette made vital contributions to the Digital Bridge project in our background research into new qualitative research methods that the team used in the project, being flexible and adaptable to the challenges that arose during the project, and led data collection and analysis. During January and February of 2021, Yvette spent her time developing a codebook for data analysis and then analyzing qualitative data for the Digital Bridge project. Yvette will return to TASCHA for the summer of 2021 to lead the publication of journal articles based on Digital Bridge research.

Yvette was also a co-author of a paper which was accepted for presentation at TPRC: Creating a Digital Bridge: Lessons and policy implications from a technology access and distribution program for unemployed workers

This summer, Yvette will be a part of another presentation at the 2021 Digital Inclusion Policy and Research Conference: “Help is really necessary”: Case study of a technology distribution program for unemployed workers

Claire Phillips, dual-degree Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration student, has supported our research communications for the past two years. This year, Claire contributed to several blog posts and focused on increasing TASCHA’s social media presence on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Her efforts have been successful – TASCHA’s content has consistently reached over 15,000 people per month on Twitter.

Sarah Inman, Human-Centered Design and Engineering Ph.D. student, was an RA during winter quarter when she worked with the Ocean Data for Decision-Making (OD4D) project. She completed literature review work and participated in development of a deliverable – an OD4D guide/workbook.

Brandyn Boyd and Anna Gibson, both in the Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) program, have dedicated their capstone to research library programming in Washington state in light of COVID-19’s imposed library closures. The COVID-19 pandemic and restrictions on in-person gatherings have forced libraries to radically change their approaches to programming and other services, which may have long-term impacts on how libraries offer services in the future. This study builds off the Community Labs in Public Libraries project and will provide useful data that begins pre-COVID-19 crisis through the early and later phases of library program adaptations. 

Brandyn and Anna used their capstone to carry out a series of interviews with public librarians across Washington State. They interviewed the same set of librarians 3 times in order to have some longitudinal understanding of how library programming has evolved over the course of the pandemic. Katya Yefimova (Ph.D. candidate in the Information School) was also involved in these interviews, although she was not a part of the capstone class itself, and TASCHA researchers Stacey Wedlake, Bree Norlander, and Jason Young have collaborated on this project.

Additionally, Brandyn co-authored the paper: Young, J.C., Boyd, B., Yefimova, K., Wedlake, S., Coward, C., Hapel, R. The role of libraries in misinformation programming: A research agenda. Journal of Librarianship and Information Science. October 2020. doi:10.1177/0961000620966650

Jamie Ramos, a 2021 graduate of the MLIS program, completed a capstone project that transformed into a web-based toolkit (supported by Gitbooks) that breaks down literature on effective written communication into something manageable to review and learn for people working toward social good. TASCHA’s Stacey Wedlake provided suggestions on the direction of her capstone project, feedback on work completed, and some additional resources. 

This year, many students contributed to the Misinformation Escape Room project. 

  • Darren Ma, Andy Cahill, John Rosen, and Jeffrey Wang formed a capstone team and made tremendous front and backend improvements to the escape room. 
  • Taylor Agajanian, Morgan Ford, Kris Fortmann, Maina Gachugu, Juan Carlos Gomez, Ari Hock, Daphne Hsu, Elizabeth Kunesh, Jacob Lackner, Leland Lanquist, Helen Li, Iva Matkovic, Jamie Ramos, Gina Rome, Lindsey Schwartz, Yinan Guo, Amaya Kejriwal, Lei Lei, Maya Nair, Simon Talusan, Alexander Escalera Sanchez, and Sathvika Shakhamuri joined our Directed Research Group class in winter and/or spring quarters. One team performed quantitative analysis of survey data, one did qualitative analysis of video transcripts, and one did UX testing. Thanks to this work we’re getting a good picture of the escape room’s effect on people’s attitudes towards misinformation and insights on how to improve the game.
  • Ph.D. students Travis Windleharth and Johnny Cho were the Teaching Assistants for the Directed Research Group course in winter and spring quarters respectively. 

Kat Wyly, together with students from MIT and Wellesley College and Boston community members, turned the project they prototyped in our Fall Civic Media Co-Design Studio class (Erik Gordon, Chris Coward, Rachele Gardner) into a guide to help older adults and others new to video conferencing applications.


Read more about student work