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Researcher Spotlight: Emmie Meeks

By Avery Castellani and Emmeline Meeks

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 particular set of questions- here are Emmie Meeks' responses!


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

Through classes with Dr. CD and Dr. Bunten, the Busload of Books Tour was on my radar, but it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to attend the research talk that Robbi, Matthew and the Busload of Books Research Team did at WAC last semester, that I became aware of the scope of the research project and began following along from a distance. I was particularly interested in the project because I attended Title 1 schools growing up and was lucky enough to have experienced an author visit when I was in middle school. So I know first-hand the kind of impact that the work that Robbi and Matthew are doing has on students in low-income areas. When the opportunity came up for me to join the team, I was ecstatic to be asked to join a project that was doing work that I deeply cared about and saw this as an opportunity to give back to communities like the one where I grew up.

You're our newest team member! What have you already done as a team member to get acquainted with the role? 

I’ve been meeting with the other faculty and student researchers to get more familiar with our data and our processes for analyzing it. I have already gotten to look at a lot of our survey data and learned the importance of uniformity across logged data. I’ve also joined the BoB Teacher Advisory Committee, run by Dr. Bunten, with Brooke to work with faculty at some of the schools from the tour to help spread awareness of the BoB project and help make experiences like the tour, and the data and results more accessible for more schools.

What are some future jobs/tasks that you're planning to take on? What are some long-term goals you have regarding the project, if any at the moment?

I am planning on being more involved with the blog and I foresee some exciting data entry when we start collecting more surveys! Right now I’ve been doing a lot of clerical work, and I’m excited to take on more as the project progresses! I would love to see this project lead to nationwide change in approaches to literacy and even professional development for teachers to help close achievement gaps in Title 1 schools and underserved areas.

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

I am an English major and Education Studies minor at WAC, so this is essentially the perfect opportunity that encompasses both things I’m most passionate about! I am also on the teacher certification track, so as a future English teacher, literacy is an essential part of what I’m studying at WAC and my future career. While I have been exclusively working with secondary students during my field training, I know the importance of introducing literacy and promoting good literacy habits at the elementary level. Since I joined the BoB team, I have approached my classroom experiences, both at WAC and my field internships, from a new perspective, and I often wonder how the classrooms I am a part of would differ had the students had access to experiences like the BoB tour.

And finally... What was your favorite book as a child and why? 

I absolutely loved Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin! The wit and humor were right up my alley as a kid, and I loved the illustrations too. Looking back, the creativity of literate animals that could communicate with the farmer in a way that wasn’t verbal, was beyond anything I had encountered before.



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