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Researcher Spotlight: Brooke Thomas

The Researcher Spotlight series is designed to introduce the public to the many fabulous members of the Busload of Books research team. Washington College student researcher Avery Castellani designed this set of questions for the student research team- here are Brooke's responses!

What was it about the Busload of Books project that made you decide to accept the offer to join the research team?

I had told myself that I didn’t want to get a job during my first year of college so that I would have time to adapt, but when I got the offer to join the Busload of Books research team I immediately started looking into the project and its purpose and felt like it was right up my alley! English was always my favorite subject in school, and it was exciting to know that this project could make a positive impact on the way kids feel about their English and/or Art classes!

What specific jobs have you taken on as a student researcher? What have they taught you?

My main job with BoB so far has been to enter data from the surveys that the students and teachers send in. This has taught me to think deeper about what the possible reasons could be for their answers, and how some conditions, such as accessibility to books, can affect students’ feelings about reading, writing, and drawing! I’ve also learned how much depth goes into conducting research, that there are always more questions to be asked, and that a single dataset can tell you so many things about the world!

How does the Busload of Books project relate to your studies at Washington College?

As a Sociology major, this research directly connects me to my studies because, while I’m learning about society and the different factors that play into that, I’m seeing real information about the society we live in because of this research. I’m also currently studying statistics, which has so far focused a lot on datasets, how to interpret them, and what conclusions you can make from data, which is a lot of what is happening with the research from the Busload of Books project.

What are some of your long-term goals surrounding the Busload of Books project?

One of my goals surrounding this project is to get more comfortable looking at and analyzing data, and to start thinking in ways that can help me find my own questions and conclusions that can aid in future research. I would also like to help work on expanding the Busload of Books research project in the future, whatever that might mean!

What are you most excited to learn about through this research?

While looking at the research data, I can’t help but to try to compare my elementary school experiences and answers to the surveys to the ones of the students answering the BoB surveys. I think I’m most excited to see what conclusions can be drawn, and to see overall how Robbi and Matthew’s assembly impacted the schools and children that they visited. It makes me wonder if it might have impacted the way that I felt about reading, writing, and drawing as an elementary student!



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