Getting to know the 2016 scholarship winners

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We’re happy to announce that 10 (TEN!) teachers won our scholarships and will be joining us this year. Let’s get to know a few of them.


Desiree D. Corbett

D.CorbettWhere/what she teaches: Grimsley High School, Greensboro, NC, English

What do you hope to get out of the program? I hope to acquire some great ideas for lesson planning for next  school year and to learn more about the historical background as well as the culture of Jane Austen’s novels.

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? If I was a character in a Jane Austen novel, I think that I would be most like Elinor Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility. I admire Elinor’s patience and perseverance.  She’s committed to her family and friends  I see similarities between the relationship between the Dashwood sisters and my relationship with my own younger sister.


Stephanie Cotton

S.CottonWhere/what she teaches: Haliwa-Saponi Tribal School, Hollister, NC, English teacher

What do you hope to get out of the program?  Ways to integrate Austen into lessons and exposure of literature to students

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice — she is very independent.


Catherine Edmonds

Where/what she teaches: New Hanover High School, Wilmington, NC.  I teach Honors English 2 and AP Literature and Composition.

What do you hope to get out of the program? I hope to get a new perspective from people more familiar with Austen’s works.  I’ve only ever taught Pride and Prejudice, so exposure to people who are more well-versed in her work will hopefully provide me with new approaches and insights.

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? I think I’d like to be Elinor Dashwood.  I like that she’s intelligent and compassionate and can recognize and admire other people’s strengths.  She’s understated and demure but full of such intense emotion – what great complexity!


Sherrill Jolly

S.JollyWhere/what she teaches: South Brunswick High School  Southport, NC  AP Literature and English IV

What do you hope to get out of the program?  A new appreciation for Austen, a chance to think about ways to incorporate her works into our curriculum

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? Emma Woodhouse – I really believe I could choose much better relationships for my friends sometimes.  I also harbor the feeling deep down in my heart that if people would just do what I want, everything would be so much better.  LOL.


Amanda Long

A.LongWhere/what she teaches: I am currently in my 4th year as media specialist at Lewis Chapel Middle School in Fayetteville, NC.

What do you hope to get out of the program? I am hoping that this program will give me ideas on how to “sell” Jane Austen’s works to the teachers and students.  As a middle school teacher, I find that my students are still developing their personalities and tend to be very passionate about things.  I think this is a perfect time to introduce them to Austen.  Many times, teenagers get caught up in their own life and I think it would be interesting for them to study what would be the problems for the characters in Austen’s novels.

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? I find that I most closely relate with Elinor Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility.  I tend to try to think practically about things and keep a level head, however, on the inside I am a ball of emotions.  I don’t get carried away but when I become invested in a project it is with my whole heart.


Michele Nease

M.NeaseWhere/what she teaches: I teach at Voyager Academy Middle School in Durham, NC.  I teach Humanities to 8th graders.

What do you hope to get out of the program? I hope to leave this program invigorated by the process of studying a work of literature which connects me to the human condition.  Great works inspire one to live more authentically, to give and receive more, to love when the obstacles appear too great, to find the joy nestled in daily routines. Hopefully I will leave the experience with a grateful heart and greater appreciation for the linguistic artistry of Jane Austen.  Analyzing a fine work such as this will of course bring me great joy.

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? If I were a character in a Jane Austen novel I would have to be Elizabeth Bennet.  She is genuine, loving, intelligent, beautiful, witty and an amazing conversationalist.   She is my favorite because she is authentic…always.  A genuine soul can conquer any obstacle.  She is a true heroine because her character never waivers.  She also gets her guy!


Merry Noyes

M.NoyesWhere/what she teaches: I teach in Fuquay-Varina at Fuquay-Varina High School. I  currently have AP Literature & Composition, Eng IV (Brit Lit), and Paideia Eng I (blended History/English class).

What do you hope to get out of the program? I hope to nerd out with other lovers of literature and gain some deeper insights, cool tidbits of knowledge, and mad Regency dance moves to bring back to my students!

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? If I could be any Jane Austen character I would be Lady Susan Vernon from “Lady Susan.” She is brash, morally ambiguous, and fantastically un-Victorian. 😉


Hannah Richards

H.RichardsWhere/what she teaches:I recently graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a degree in middle-grades education for language arts and math, and I am seeking employment as a middle-school language arts teacher in and around the Charlotte area. Though I originally went into teaching middle grades with the notion that I wanted to teach the oldest grade that I possibly could, I got placed for my student teaching in a sixth-grade language arts classroom in Chatham County (the very youngest I am licensed to teach). I ended up loving working with the youngest as well.

What do you hope to get out of the program? I am incredibly excited for the Jane Austen program for two reasons. First, I am thrilled to get to spend a few days with a group of literature nerds like myself! Though I love the teaching profession, sometimes a deep love for content can get lost among the daily concerns of a teacher: differentiation, grouping, standards, testing, behavior and so on. Second, as a literature nerd and Jane Austen fangirl, I am extremely excited to get to learn about the ways that I can use Jane Austen literature in my future classroom and to broaden my educational practice though the extra sessions for teachers.

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? I think that I land somewhere in between Jane Bennett from “Pride and Prejudice” and Mary Crawford from “Mansfield Park.” Like Jane, I too cannot help but seeing the best in people and giving them the benefit of the doubt, even when those closest to me see me as naive for doing so. On the other hand, I identify with many of Mary Crawford’s attributes, including her propensity to surprise those around her and disrupt their expectations. Mary’s laid-back attitude is one that any of my closest friends would attest reflects my own, and I love the juxtaposition of this lax attitude with the typically heroine-like traits that Mary possesses — her wit and commitment to taking risks.


Christy Rivers

C.RiversWhere/what she teaches: I teach English at Ashe County High School in West Jefferson, NC (near Boone). I’ve taught all grades, but usually teach 11th and 12th grade English.

What do you hope to get out of the program? So much of the professional development I receive as a teacher is pedagogy-based, which is great, but I rarely (if ever!) get intensive seminars on works of literature.  I want to be a student again and get immersed in Austen’s world!

If you could be any character in Austen’s novels, who would it be? I honestly think I’d be more like a Fanny Price. I don’t relish attention as I’m more of an introvert, and I prefer books and solitude to parties and large groups. However, I am loyal and faithful to those who know me well!


Other Scholars:

  • Tamara Gurganus, Bertie High School, Windsor, NC

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