Two iSchool Students Receive Funding for Dissertation Work

Two iSchool Students Receive Funding for Dissertation Work

We are proud to announce that two iSchool students, Liz Warrick and Amanda Waugh, are 2017 recipients of the Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship. This award supports students with excellent qualifications who are in the latter stages of writing their dissertations.  Both students will be provided full support for one semester.

About Ms. Warrick’s Work

Liz is a third year doctoral student. Her professional background is in libraries. She has worked in supporting user experiences for schools, organizational departments, and communities in the United States, Asia and Africa, where she is from.  Liz’s work as a graduate research assistant at the iSchool supports the development of NatureNet, a citizen science app for environmental learning. Her doctoral research falls under the umbrella of computer supported cooperative work with a focus on

  • Technologies for Environmental Learning & Community Development.
  • Indigenous Social Information Systems.
  • Citizen Science.
  • Africa & Diaspora.

Her dissertation research is titled Social Media in the Shifting Context of Indigenous Environmental Stewardship. The research is set in the Mbeere community of Mt. Kenya in Africa, an indigenous group of about 80,000 people. She uses a mixed methods approach that includes taking circles, social network analysis and co-designed online survey. The study has been designed for immediate application in the community’s own understanding of how technology access affects individual members’ ability to execute sometimes rapidly shifting environmental targets. As such, findings will offer up knowledge about types and levels of media used; why and how people participate in activities and what those activities might be. Firstly, such knowledge has potential to activate decisions about inclusivity at community and national level, thus conceivably addressing issues of marginalization. Secondly, administrators of the community Facebook forum, who have collaborated closely in co-designing the online resource.

About Ms. Waugh’s Work

Amanda Waugh is a doctoral candidate in the iSchool at the University of Maryland College Park and a former school librarian. Her research interests are focused on youth in online communities as well as the impact school libraries on their school communities.

Her dissertation, entitled Nerdfighters and their Information Practices, aims to explore the information practices of young adults in one online fan community, Nerdfighteria. Nerdfighteria is the community of fans of young adult author John Green, and his brother, science writer and musician Hank Green. Nerdfighteria sprawls across the internet through every form of social media. This dissertation will explore when, how, and why young adult Nerdfighters leverage their community to answer their information needs. It will examine the kinds of questions young adult Nerdfighters explore and trace their engagement across the many platforms popular among Nerdfighteria.  Finally, this dissertation will examine why young adults turn to this community from the array of options they have to answer their information needs.

About the Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship

The Graduate School Semester Dissertation Fellowships currently include the Ann G. Wylie Dissertation Fellowship and the Lee Thornton Dissertation Fellowship. The Semester Dissertation Fellowships provide support to University of Maryland doctoral candidates who have excellent qualifications and who are in the latter stages of writing their dissertations.  The Fellowship carries a stipend of $15,000, plus a candidacy Graduate School Tuition Award for the semester in which the fellowship is taken. In addition, the Graduate School pays the student’s mandatory fees.