Get to know the iSchool’s ten new PhD students! They will be featured throughout the Fall 2021 semester.
Research areas: children’s informal learning environments, playful learning, public library outreach, and social justice
Advisor: Rebekah Willett
Where are you from?
I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, living in multiple, rural communities around Washington state.
How did you become interested in the field of library science?
While I was working as an educator in Ohio, I picked up a side job working with Cleveland Public Library. I was completely captured by the children’s library staff who were able to work with and support family learning without many of the constraints of traditional educational settings. It motivated me to become a children’s librarian and be actively involved in applied research to help libraries improve outcomes for the communities they serve.
How does the iSchool complement your research area/interests?
I choose UW-Madison’s iSchool because I found an advisor who I felt would best fit my research interests and provide support for me as I moved through the program. It was also important for me to find a university that supported cross-departmental research collaborations.
What are you excited to explore in Madison?
I’m most excited to explore Madison and the surrounding area with my cross-country skis! Fingers crossed for a snowy, cold winter.
What is one thing you wish you’d known before applying to Ph.D. programs?
There isn’t anything I wish I had known per say, but I have things I’d recommend to potential applicants. Before I even applied to any programs, I spent a lot of time researching programs and talking with faculty and students. This helped me understand the expectations and culture of various programs so I could find the best fit for me. Getting a doctorate is a large commitment and it’s important to thoroughly investigate and weigh your options. It also helps to clarify for yourself why you want to pursue this degree.