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Jane Austen Society of North America Awards Scholarships
to Nine 2106 Essay Contest Winners


Sep. 1, 2016 — The Jane Austen Society of North America (JASNA) is pleased to announce the nine winners of its  2016 essay contest, an annual event open to high school, college/university, and graduate school students worldwide. Over 200 students from across North America and 16 countries submitted essays this year — a new record that underscores the continuing appeal of Jane Austen’s novels. 

First-Place Winners

High School Division:  Annette Nayeon Kim, Chinese International School, Hong Kong
College/University Division:  Stephanie Diehl, Bridgewater State University, Bridgewater, MA
Graduate School Division:  Jayda Coons, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 

Second-Place Winners 

High School Division:  Leah F. Palmer, Homeschool, Newberry, FL
College/University Division:  Navya Dasari, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Graduate School Division:  Tiffany Schubert, University of Dallas, Irving, TX  

Third-Place Winners 

High School Division:  Seth Kim, Blair Academy, Blairstown, NJ
College/University Division:  Keelin desRosiers, University of Dallas, Irving, TX
Graduate School Division:  Emmabel Orendain, Chapman University, Orange, CA 

The 2016 essay topic, education in Emma, prompted participants to examine how education shapes the plot of the novel, develops the characters, or reflects the views of the period.  

The first-place winner in each division will receive a $1,000 scholarship; second- and third-place winners will be awarded scholarships of $500 and $250, respectively. All nine winners will also receive complimentary membership in JASNA for one year, as well as a complete set of the Norton Critical Edition novels of Jane Austen. In addition, the three first-place winners were invited to attend JASNA’s 2016 Annual General Meeting in Washington, DC, in October. JASNA provided complimentary registration and two free nights in the conference hotel. 

“The winning essays are insightful and well-crafted, and we congratulate the students on their outstanding work,” said Claire Bellanti, president of JASNA. “We hope they have an even deeper interest in and appreciation of Jane Austen and her writing as a result of this experience.”  The winning entries are posted on the JASNA website

To handle the increased number of submissions, JASNA Essay Contest Chair and organizer Meg Levin assembled an expert panel of 33 judges, representing a variety of educational institutions, to evaluate the essays in two rounds. The 17 finalists who did not receive a prize were awarded Honorable Mention.  

“The JASNA Essay Contest wouldn’t be possible without the support of the students’ mentors and our contest judges,” said Bellanti. “They donate their time and expertise for the benefit of the students and JASNA, and we thank them heartily.”

JASNA conducts the annual Essay Contest each year to encourage students to read and study Jane Austen’s works and exercise their critical thinking and writing skills. Entrants do not have to be JASNA members in order to participate. 

The Jane Austen Society of North America is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1979 to foster the study, appreciation, and understanding of Jane Austen’s works, life and genius. JASNA has over 5,000 members and more than 75 regional groups in the United States and Canada. Membership in JASNA is open to everyone who shares an interest in Jane Austen; its members are of all ages and from diverse walks of life. For more information about JASNA, visit the Society’s website at www.jasna.org.

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“One half of the world cannot understand the pleasures of the other.”

Emma