Dr. Waugh, ODU Research Team to Present at AASL Conference

by St. Andrew's Communications Staff
Dr. Amanda Waugh is dedicated to empowering students to follow their curiosity and embrace lifelong learning, in both her role as St. Andrew’s Instructional Librarian, and as a published author, presenter, and adjunct library sciences professor.
Waugh, who is presenting next week with an Old Dominion University research team on examining the early reading life of pre-service teachers and school librarians at the American Association of School Librarians national conference, partners with Middle and Upper School teachers to introduce students to research skills that prepare them for the next level of study.

In the Middle School, Waugh connects students with reputable sources they can use to learn more about topics they are studying, such as the challenges of immigration explored in the summer Middle School read, “Refugee” by Alex Gratz. In the Upper School, Waugh focuses on guiding students as they research via scholarly databases but also “in the real world” with Google Scholar, and as they structure college-level papers.

“I always try to come from the perspective of, ‘How can I best connect students with the information that they need?’” Waugh said. “Sometimes it means I’m going into a class of sophomores who are diving into a research paper in a deeper way than they have before, teaching them how to best do that research, or a class of seniors that need to be ready to do research papers at the collegiate level.

“With the older kids, they’re really at such an amazing, transformative period. It’s an opportunity to really have an impact on how a student learns and the direction their education goes.”

Taylor Stern ’21 said Waugh has helped her dive deep into research projects, such as a paper on the Salem Witch Trials, and recommended to her new books and genres.

“Whenever I come into the library and ask for a new book, she's always ready with a recommendation that I end up really enjoying,”  Taylor said. “She's always been warm and welcoming toward me and the other students, and she's really gone the extra mile for us.”

Waugh, who earned her Ph.D. in Information Studies from the University of Maryland in March 2018, continues to prioritize her professional development to enhance her work at St. Andrew’s. In January she presented on the digital information practices of teenagers who are part of online fan communities at the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting, and in July her paper on the topic was published in The Journal of Research on Libraries and Young Adults, the scholarly peer-reviewed journal of the Young Adult Library Services Association. During the summer she is an adjunct instructor at ODU, where she has taught young adult literature, children’s literature, and research methods.

“I feel like it does elevate my practice here,” Waugh said. “I come back here and I have a different lens, especially at ODU; when I come back and work with students on collegiate-level writing, I can speak from experience about what collegiate-level writing looks like.”

Sophia Wills ’21 is fascinated by history and said Waugh nurtures her love for discovering new information about topics that interest her.   
“Throughout my many research projects, Dr. Waugh always has been able to not only assist me with research but expand my thinking with new perspectives or opinions,” she said. “When given an assignment that involves research, her eagerness to support me whenever I ask makes the process of historical writing less stressful.”  
Waugh said she enjoys engaging students in their interests and being part of each student’s learning journey throughout their Middle and Upper School careers.
“One of the things I think is amazing about being a librarian is that my job is to get to know the student and then connect them with their passion,” she said. “I think of it not as much about library, so much as being an engaged and inquisitive person. That’s what it’s all about.”

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St. Andrew’s Episcopal School is a private, coeducational college preparatory day school for students in preschool (Age 2) through grade 12, located in Potomac, Maryland.