Social work and social media are among the many interests of TASCHA RA, Claire Phillips

Claire Phillips grew up with her nose in a book at all times. Her favorite place in the world was her hometown library in San Luis Obispo, CA, where she began volunteering her time shelving books on the weekends at age ten. Claire followed her passion for reading and writing at California Polytechnic State University, where she studied English literature, technical writing, sociology, and gender studies. 

It was during this time that Claire discovered another passion: social justice. After volunteering with a local shelter for people experiencing homelessness, she saw a need for people with writing skills in social services organizations. Hoping to combine her writing skills with her desire to drive social change, Claire enrolled at the University of Washington, where she is pursuing masters degrees in social work and public administration.

Time at TASCHA

In 2019, Claire joined the TASCHA team as a Communications Research Assistant. Working with Communications Manager Kat Chung, Claire plays a hand in all aspects of the Communication Team’s work, from copy editing research reports to promoting TASCHA’s work online. 

Fittingly, it was TASCHA’s commitment to public scholarship – making research accessible and available to people outside of academia – that initially drew Claire to TASCHA. After reading about TASCHA’s work, she knew that TASCHA would be the perfect place for her to combine her writing background with her commitment to social change. Now, Claire helps promote public scholarship by sharing TASCHA’s work on social media and writing articles for the TASCHA blog. If you follow TASCHA on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Twitter, chances are you’ll see posts written and shared by Claire.

Claire has contributed to several projects, including helping develop a style guide for TASCHA’s work. Additionally, during her time at TASCHA, Claire has boosted TASCHA’s social media presence — she has helped grow TASCHA’s Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn following by 6%, 3.5%, and 88% respectively. TASCHA’s posts on social media consistently reach thousands of people every month, which helps engage the general public with TASCHA’s research, events, and other work.

TASCHA’s Communication team would not be where it is today without the care and dedication that Claire has put into her work over the past two years. Her deep interest in TASCHA’s library research coupled with her journalism and social work background make her an outstanding contribution to TASCHA. – Kat Chung


Additionally, Claire loves that her work at TASCHA ties back to her childhood love of libraries: 

Public libraries hold a special place in my heart. I love that my work at TASCHA supports libraries in the United States and abroad, and I love that TASCHA recognizes libraries as agents for social change. It is so special to know that my work supports research that is making an impact all around the world.

Life After TASCHA

Though she still has one more year of graduate school ahead of her, Claire knows she wants to work in local government when she graduates. Social issues like violence prevention and disability rights are near and dear to her heart, and she hopes she’ll have the opportunity to make positive changes in her community around these areas. 

If Claire could give future scholars any advice, it would be to get comfortable with uncertainty. 

I’ve always been concerned with having my academic life planned out, but the truth is that life doesn’t lend itself well to grand five-year plans. If you take your time, give your best effort, and take whatever opportunities emerge throughout the process, you’ll get where you’re meant to go.


Follow TASCHA on Twitter to see some of Claire's work