I conduct research on the use of school and public libraries as effective learning environments to encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) interest among underserved, underrepresented, and disadvantaged young adults. I am interested in examining how to facilitate the learning of emerging digital literacies in libraries using the connected learning framework. Additionally, I am also interested in embedding the findings of my research into education and training of current and future children and teen librarians. My approach is qualitative, melding ethnography and design-based research with a variety of data collection methods. These methods include participatory design, in-situ observations, self-developed assessment instruments, interviews, and focus groups.

SDSFLogo Safe Data Safe Families
Funded by Institute of Museum and Library Services. In this project, my team will develop educational resources for families to reduce risky behaviors and enhance overall privacy-related digital skills, and for librarians and other information intermediaries to better support the families they assist. Click here for more information about the Safe Data Safe Families project. [ONGOING]
YXlogo Graduate Certificate in Professional Studies in Youth Experience
Funded by Institute of Museum and Library Services. In this project, my team develops and implements a new post-master's certificate aimed at building the capacity of librarians who serve teens and children, to adapt to the changing landscape of youth learning and technology. The core of the certificate is its emphasis on learning sciences, including critical aspects of promoting learning using technology such as adult mentorship, partnership, participatory design, and design thinking in the context of learning in libraries. Click here for more information about the YX Certificate. [ONGOING]
ConnectedLib logo

Connected learning at the library: Developing librarians’ capacity to support today’s digital youth
Funded by Institute of Museum and Library Services. This project brings together researchers and public library partners to develop a suite of professional development resources aimed at building public librarians’ capacity to leverage digital media and connected learning principles to promote 21st century skills among the youth they serve. The public library partners are Providence Public Library, Seattle Public Library, and Kitsap Regional Library. Read our white paper on connected learning in libraries. Click here for more information about ConnectedLib. Follow us on Twitter @ConnectedLib. [ONGOING]

HackHealth logo

HackHealth: Improving Health Literacy through Facilitation of Scientific Inquiry and Information Literacy Skills
Funded by the National Library of Medicine. HackHealth is an after-school program that runs for 12 consecutive weeks in selected Prince George's County middle schools. I am leading a research team that works with school librarians at these schools to lead after-school sessions that engage disadvantaged youth in (a) conducting scientific inquiry into health maintenance and/or disease prevention and management; (b) acting as health information intermediaries; and (c) taking action based on what they learn. Our overarching goals are to increase the interest of youth in the health sciences, their health information literacy, their health-related self-efficacy, and their understanding of the crucial link between their daily health-related behaviors and their ability to maintain their health and prevent disease. Click here for more information about HackHealth. [COMPLETED]

Sci-dentity Sci-dentity: Developing STEM Identities Through Sci-Fi Storytelling and Online Peer Networks
Funded by the National Science Foundation. In this 3-year research project, we created an after-school program for inner-city, middle school youth in Washington DC Public Schools (DCPS) where students create science inspired stories with different media (e.g. graphic novels, short stories etc.) [COMPLETED]

Leveraging Technology for Mathematics Learning
Funded by the University of Maryland ADVANCE. Ann Ryu Edwards, Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Maryland and I (co-PI) received a seed grant for a research project, Leveraging Technology for Mathematics: Exploring Instructional Collaboration between School Librarians and Mathematics Teacher. This one-year ADVANCE grant served as a pilot study for the development and deployment of a collaboration model between mathematics teachers and school librarians that helps underrepresented, disadvantaged and underserved youths in middle schools increase engagement and achievement in mathematics. [COMPLETED]

FIA-National Park Service

Safe Space and Knowledge Discovery: Social Media in the National Parks
Funded by the Future of Information Alliance - Deutsch Foundation. In partnership with the National Park Service (NPS), I led a group of students to develop a guidebook that will allow NPS (and similar learning institutions) to incorporate social media platform that promotes awareness and learning of new media literacies and privacy practices for tweens. Learn more about this project via our promo video. Learning institutions that are interested in implementing social media and including children under 13 may refer to this Guidebook to Virtual Space for pointers on safe privacy practices, community moderation and parent involvement. [COMPLETED]

Improving Museum Experiences for Children with Autism

Improving Museum Experiences of Children with Autism and Their Families
Funded by the University of Maryland, College Park and The Smithsonian Institution. iPAC researchers, Paul Jaeger, Lesley Langa and myself (Lead PI) and The Smithsonian Institution researchers, Pino Monaco and Beth Ziebarth, received a prestigious seed grant for a research project, The Museum Experience of Children with Autism and Their Families: Improving Access through Web and Electronic Resources. This research project is one of the first concrete efforts to explore the integration of web resources as a means to promote greater inclusion of people with disabilities in museums. For more information, see ( [COMPLETED]

Information and Diverse Populations

Information and Diverse Population Concentration
Funded by IMLS iPAC researchers - Paul T. Jaeger, John Carlo Bertot, Lesley A. Langa, and myself (co-PI) - in conjunction with Jonathan Lazar of Towson University and Renee E. Hill (nee Franklin) of Syracuse University received an IMLS Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian grant to provide scholarships for a cohort of 20 full-time students to enter the iSchool Information and Diverse Populations Masters program in Fall 2011. For these scholarships, students were recruited based on a commitment to working in diverse service and learning environments, and were involved in a series of mentoring activities (see mentoring handbook) and internships that helped prepare them to work in diverse environments. For more information, see ( [COMPLETED]