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Meet the 2017 Jane Austen Summer Program scholars

We’re less than three months away from the Jane Austen Summer Program, and we’re thrilled to announce the eight winners of this year’s scholarships!

Middle School

Suzanne Bryant

Where/what she teaches: Uwharrie Charter Academy, Asheboro, N.C. Seventh grade.

Favorite book: Favorite Jane Austen book is “Pride and Prejudice.”  Favorite other book is “Redeeming Love” by Francine Rivers.

What are you looking forward to at JASP? I am looking forward to learning more about how to bring Austen’s classics to life for my middle-grade students.  Often, it is difficult for students to fully relate to her works because they can’t grasp concepts of that time period (naming of estates, calling cards, the formality of everyday events, etc.)  I look forward to understanding it even better so that I can share that knowledge with my students to further their appreciation of her writing.

Gloria Lynch

Where/what she teaches: Wake Forest Middle School, Wake Forest, N.C. Sixth-grade English.

Favorite book: “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck, “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte, Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility,” and “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak. What are you looking forward to at JASP? I’m most excited about meeting new people that share a love for Jane Austen. It’s going to be great discussing the texts and figuring out how to best incorporate them in my classroom.

Pamela Martin

Where/what she teaches: Fairview School, Sylva, N.C. Fourth through eighth grades in the gifted program.

Favorite book: “To Kill A Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, mostly due to the last few pages when Scout looks back over the neighborhood and recalls the events of the years. So beautiful!

What are you looking forward to at JASP? Meeting and interacting with like-minded individuals is high on my list, but I am also definitely interested in learning more about Jane Austen’s works and how I can engage my students with those captivating reads! I am so excited! 

Alicia Rogers

Where/what she teaches: Invest Collegiate: Imagine, Asheville, N.C. Sixth grade.

Favorite book: Austen: “Pride and Prejudice”; non-Austen: “Gone With the Wind,” “Lord of the Rings,” “Les Miserables”

What are you looking forward to at JASP? Bringing back some great ideas for my classroom and students; getting to meet, chat, and discuss with other Janeites!


High school

Kerri Chewning

Where/what she teaches: Forbush High School, East Bend, N.C. Teaches English.

Favorite book: My favorite Austen book is Pride and Prejudice, although I love them; despite realizing the logisitics of living sans electricity and indoor plumbing may have made Austen’s world less refined than we imagine, I would gladly step back into time! Of course, this would land me–unmarried, without fortune, and with no prospects–as a very tragic heroine, indeed!

Crystal Hester

Where/what she teaches: Purnell Swett High School, Robeson County, N.C. Eleventh and 12th grade, including the general groups, honors groups and AP English Language and AP English Literature. 

Favorite book: My favorite novel is “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte and has been since I was in sixth grade. 

What are you looking forward to at JASP? I am looking forward to meeting others who are just as excited about learning more about Jane Austen as I am, and I can’t wait to learn the dances!

Marquitta Mitchell

Where/what she teaches: West Mecklenburg High School, Charlotte, N.C. Multi-Classroom leader for the English I team.

Favorite book: “Kindred” by Octavia Butler and “Sula” by Toni Morrison.

What are you looking forward to at JASP? I am looking forward to meeting new people who share a love for literature and learning new ways to teach Jane Austen’s work in our classrooms. I think this will be the first out-of-town workshop I’ve attended alone, and I’m excited about the opportunity to have such a unique experience!

Faydra Womble

SandHoke Early College High School, Raeford, N.C.


Mentor Scholars

For the first time, we’re also welcoming two “mentor scholars,” who’ll give a presentation to teachers. Both teachers were 2016 JASP scholars and were outstanding conference participants.  We welcome them this year as the first recipients of the Jane Austen Mentor Scholars initiative.  

Michele S. Nease

Where/what she teaches: Voyager Academy, Durham, N.C. Eighth-grade humanities.

Favorite book: “The Last Lecture” by Randy Pausch

What advice do you have for the scholars? Be open to new experiences!

Sherrill Jolly

Where/what she teaches: South Brunswick High School, Southport, N.C. AP Literature and English IV.

Favorite book: My favorite Austen is “Sense and Sensibility” because I empathize with both of the Dashwood sisters at some point in my life. My favorite book of all time though is Stephen King’s “The Stand.”

What advice do you have for the scholars? Wake up each morning ready to learn.  Soak it in and try each experience.  It reminded me of what it is to enjoy learning, again.  It is the best way I know to renew your love of teaching, Austen, and learning.


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