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Introducing our 2018 Jane Austen Summer Program teacher scholars

Each year we offer scholarships to  North Carolina teachers who express a desire to learn more about Jane Austen and aim to incorporate her works into their classroom. We’re happy to announce this year’s winners. Plus: This year, thanks to a partnership with Oxford University Press, we’ve expanded our scholarship program to include two out-of-state educators. Congratulations to our 2018 JASP scholars!

Brittany Bishop

School: North Rowan Middle School, Spencer

Subject: 6th- and 7th-grade English/language arts

Favorite book:  “White Oleander” by Janet Fitch

What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I expect to get chance to delve deeper into previously unknown to me aspects of Jane Austen’s writing and its connection to Gothic literature. I relish the thought of interacting with fellow enthusiasts, and more than that,  I expect to find new and innovative ways to bring my knowledge back to my classroom. I appreciate so much the chance to study and interact with my colleagues on an academic level.

Caitlin Donovan

School: Durham School of the Arts, Durham

Subject: 9th- and 10th-grade English I and II

Favorite book: “The Princess Bride” by William Goldman

What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I desire to grow as an educator with experiential learning I can emulate in my classroom; ultimately, I hope to kindle an authentic love of lady writers and prove that Goth(ic) is not a phase!

Evette Hagan

School: West Caldwell High School, Lenoir

Subject: English IV (British literature), AP English Literature, and Composition

Favorite book: I don’t think I can choose an absolute favorite book, but one that has meant a lot to me, and to which I return frequently, is “The Little Prince,” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I am excited to attend JASP and have the opportunity to meet other teachers, readers, and scholars who share a love for great literature. I hope to come away from the program with renewed energy and lesson ideas for my classroom and my lessons. I am especially excited that the program focuses on works which I can teach in my senior classes.

Anita M. Rubino-Thomas

School: Currituck County High School, Barco

Subject: 9th- through 12th-grade visual arts

Favorite book: My favorite book from Jane Austen would be “Persuasion.” A couple of other favorites would be Salman Rushdie’s “Haroun and the Sea of Stories” and Neil Gaiman’s “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.”

What are you hoping to get out of JASP? My hopes for the summer program are that I am able to dig deeper into “Northanger Abbey,” incorporating ideas, concepts and themes into unit work I currently do on “Frankenstein.” I love that this year’s program is making connections between the two literary works and I believe the connections will not only reinforce current objectives, but also allow me to look at the work through another lens and create new connections with the objectives.

Kelsey Shea

School: Enloe High School, Raleigh

Subject: 11th- and 12th-grade social studies/history

Favorite book: “Pride and Prejudice”

What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I’m hoping to develop a stronger understanding of the novels and their history. I’m also looking forward to having time to develop cross-curricular lessons with the other teachers and seeing some examples of projects they’ve done in the past.

Oxford University Press scholars

Carissa Bussard

School: Happy Camp High School, Happy Camp, Calif.

Subject: 9th- through 12th-grade English/Spanish

Favorite book: “Wuthering Heights,” but my favorite Austen novel is “Sense and Sensibility” or “Persuasion.”

What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I am hoping to learn how to incorporate these texts into a modern high school setting. I love reading classic novels (well, reading as a whole), and I teach in a school that is extremely low socioeconomically. Last year I began taking students to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Ore., and they absolutely love the experience. They are growing a love of literature, but it definitely is a struggle getting through the language and rhetoric at times. I would like to learn how I might be able to bring 200 years of horror into a modern context that they will enjoy.

Elaine Dasher

School: Sequoyah High School, Canton, Ga.

Subject: 12th-grade AP English Literature and Composition, and British Literature and Composition

Favorite book: One of my favorite books is “Anagrams” by Lorrie Moore. I also love “Written on the Body” by Jeanette Winterson.

What are you hoping to get out of JASP? I’m looking forward to encountering Jane Austen and Mary Shelley together and finding places they intersect. I’m particularly interested in how what they read impacted what they wrote.


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