Winning Essays for 2015

2015 Essay Topic: Living in Jane Austen’s World

The 2015 Essay Contest topic aligned with the JASNA Annual General Meeting theme, “Living in Jane Austen’s World”:

Examine a single Jane Austen novel or several and show different ways characters engage with their culture, views, mores, or living conditions.  How does participation in their world affect each character’s development?  You might look at how a character approaches material culture, physical or emotional space, interpersonal relations, social class, wealth, or gender.  You may consider elements of Jane Austen’s world that have inherently negative or positive influences on characters and events in the novels.

High School Division

First Place Winner: Catherine A. Bodnar (Mequon, WI), Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP Online Classes, Kittanning, PA
Essay: Mansfield Park: A Character Study.”
Mentor: Maya Inspektor
Second Place Winner: Jessica F. Skoudis (Wall Township, NJ), Pennsylvania Homeschoolers AP Online Classes, Kittanning, PA
Essay: Mansfield Park: Culture, Character, and Consequences.”
Mentor: Maya Inspektor
Third Place Winner: Erica Yee, California Crosspoint High School, Alameda, CA
Essay: “Austen in Transition.”
Mentor: Robert Campbell

College/University Division

First Place Winner: Karoline A. Pasciano, Langara College, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Essay: “Beyond Earthly Appetites: Food, Consumption, and the Construction of Mansfield Park.”
Mentor: Tanya Lewis
Second Place Winner: Laura E. Clerx, Harvard College, Cambridge, MA
Essay: “Worlds of Literature: The Status of Reading in Persuasion.”
Mentor: Deidre Lynch
Third Place Winner: Sarah R. Wallace, Burman University, Lacombe, AB
Essay: “‘Become [Her] Own Friend’: The Platonic Role and Education of Guardians in Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, and Emma.”
Mentor: Denise Herr

Graduate Division

First Place Winner: Corrie L. Jacobs, The University of Texas, Austin, TX
Essay: “The ‘Great Talker’: Spinster Stereotypes in Emma.”
Mentor: Lisa Moore
Second Place Winner: Sheila Enright, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL
Essay: “Look Again: The Picturesque Education of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.”
Mentor: Meg Enright
Third Place Winner: Amanda V. Ritter (Salt Lake City, UT), De Montfort University, Leicester, England
Essay: “Visiting Lyme: Changing Location to Change Character in Persuasion.”
Mentor: Deborah Cartmell

Honorable Mention

Click here to see a list of the essays awarded “honorable mention.”


Many thanks to all judges of the 2015 Essay Contest.  There were two rounds of judging.  During round one, the judges read all the submissions from students at their judging level and selected the best to go forward to round two.  For round two, the judges read the selected essays at all levels and determined the winners listed above.

Eric Nye, Essay Contest Chair

High School Division

Lety Banks, University of California, San Diego, California
Curtis Crauder Bowman, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky
Barbara Burnham, University of Texas, Austin, Texas
Courtney Carlisle, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Jessica Connolly, Trinity College, Dublin
MarJean Corkran, Enterprise State Community College, Enterprise, Alabama
Becky Dolin, Graham School, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Susan Durst, Boise Public Schools (retired), Boise, Idaho
Sheila M. Farr, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, Pennsylvania
Amy Fugazzi, Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky
Norah Glickstein, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario
Jeanie Hoffmann Lewis, Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois
Kimberly Hughes, Peace Lutheran Academy, Sussex, Wisconsin
Lisa Lintner-Sizemore, Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, Kentucky
Veronica Mayer, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut
Jillian Miller, Shoshoni High School, Shoshoni, Wyoming
Susan Multanen, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho
Laurie Novo, Friends’ Central School, Wynnewood, Pennsylvaina
Keiko Parker, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia
Maria Spray, Saint John’s College, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Alisa Thomas, Toccoa Falls College, Toccoa Falls, Georgia
Mildred Tilley, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia
Lisa Tyler, Sinclair Community College, Dayton, Ohio
Judith Umbach, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
Susan Lear Weisgrau, Akiba Hebrew Academy (retired), Merion Station, Pennsylvania
Karin Wiberg, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa
Carol L. Wright, Boston University School of Law, Boston, Massachusetts

College/University Division

Pauline Beard, Pacific University (emerita), Forest Grove, Oregon
Rosa M. Beyer, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois
Inger Brodey, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, North Carolina
Elvira Casal, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, Tennessee
Robert Gordon, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta
Hilary K. Justice, Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois
Margarita R. Levin, Stern College, Yeshiva University, New York, New York
Hina Nazar, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, Illinois
Sally Palmer, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, Rapid City, South Dakota
Jeanne Talbot, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California
Rhoda Trooboff, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Kathleen Urda, Bronx Community College, CUNY, New York

Graduate Division

Heather M. Ackerman, Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona
Kathryn E. Davis, University of Dallas, Dallas, Texas
Deborah Knuth Klenck, Colgate University, Hamilton, New York
Patricia H. Michaelson, University of Texas, Dallas, Texas
Ellen Moody, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia
Mona Scheuermann, State University of New York, Stony Brook, New York