Award Winners

Ronald Jobe Children’s Literature Scholarship Winner Profiles
The Ronald Jobe Children’s Literature Scholarship is given to a student in the Master of Arts Program in Children’s Literature ([email protected]: School of Library, Archival, and information Studies at the University of British Columbia) and is based on academic achievement in courses in literature for children and young adults, as well as contributions to the authorship, scholarship, promotion and dissemination of literature to children.
Below you will find the names of the winners of the Jobe Scholarship, with a little information about what they are doing in late 2013, while still in the Program or after completing it.

2013: Megan Harrison

Winner 2013 Megan Harris-3Thesis in progress: Central American refugee narratives, and their current representation in juvenile fiction.

Megan is presently working on her thesis.  She did her undergraduate BA in English Literature at University of California, Irvine (2009).  After graduating she joined the Jesuit Volunteer Corps for a one-year term in Cleveland, Ohio working as a Volunteer Housing Coordinator for resettled refugees from around the world.  She returned to California to work at the Boys and Girls Club near Loomis, at a group home for young girls in Sacramento, and as a long-term substitute in the San Juan Unified School District’s Early Childhood Education Program.

Megan began her MA in Children’s Literature in 2012. In June 2013 she delivered a paper, “Representations of Trauma in Refugee Life-Writings for Children,” at the Society for the History of Childhood and Youth’s Biennial Conference in Nottingham, England. She served as Secretary for the Maurice Sendak Symposium (March 2013, UBC), and she attended the ALA (American Library Association) Conference in Seattle (Winter 2012).

2012: Cynthia Nugent

2012JobeWinner_Nugent_smallThesis in progress: Story apps through the lens of picture book scholarship, combining creative and written components.  The creative side involves producing a working ipad app of The King Has Goat Ears by Katarina Jovanovic, and Stephan Béhà, illustrator (Tradewind, 2008). Her text discusses the application and extension of picture book scholarship in designing the app.

Cynthia entered the MA in Children’s Literature with background in design and in the illustration of children’s book.  She is well known for her art, especially her illustrations for the Mister Got to Go series, text by Lois Simmie.

Cynthia has given papers at two conferences. The first, on meaningful sound in story apps, was presented in 2013 at Dust or Magic: Children’s New Media Design Institute. The second, on meaningful animation in picture books and story apps, co-authored with fellow MACL,  Aline Federico, was delivered at the CONFIA Conference 2013, Porto Portugal (International Conference in Illustration and Animation).

Cynthia says that working on her thesis has led to her learning new digital design skills, useful in children’s publishing. These include creating animated book trailers, and designing a media-rich e-book called Underwater Sounds for children’s science writers Shar Levine and Leslie Johnstone.  Rascal Media, will publish it.

Since receiving the scholarship Cynthia was awarded the 2013 Chocolate Lily for I Want to Go to the Moon, text  by Tom Saunders (Simply Read, 2011), and as a working artist she has just completed the art for the third Mister Got to Go book, Mister Got to Go Where Are You? (Red Deer Press, 2014).   Cynthia has also been active designing posters for Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable events.

For Cynthia’s comments on winning the Jobe Scholarship, see her website:

2011: Robert Bittner

JobeAward_2011_BittnerThesis: Queering Christianity: The Journey from Rigid Doctrine to Personal Theologies in a Selection of YA Literature with LGBTQ Content

Rob is currently pursuing his PhD in Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies at Simon Fraser University, exploring topics relating to transgender/transsexual young people and children’s/young adult literature.  Rob is a current member of the Newbery Medal Committee and a past member of the Stonewall Book Awards Committee of the American Library Association. He has also served as a juror for the BC Book Prizes.  He has spoken on topics of genderqueer imagery in Children’s and YA books at the Children’s Literature Association (Boston, 2012), the Modern Language Association (Seattle, 2012), the Queer U Conference at UBC (2012), and the SouthWest Texas PCA/ACA Conference (Albuquerque, 2010).  He is editor of a new peer-reviewed online journal, Journal of Graduate Research in Young People’s Materials and Culture.   He manages to fit in some book reviews, too.  Rob also serves on the Steering Committee of the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable.

2010: Kay Weisman

JobeScholarshipWinner2010Thesis: Shaping the Children’s Literature Canon: An Analysis of Editorials from the Horn Book Magazine, 1924-2009

Currently Kay writes a monthly column–“Information Matters”–for School Library Monthly, a US journal aimed at teacher librarians, continues to review for Booklist and CM, and works as a youth librarian for West Vancouver Memorial Library. Kay is a contributing writer for Book Links and EBSCO’s NoveList. She is a jury member of the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award (BOYC).  Kay also serves on the Steering Committee of the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable. At present, she and Shannon Ozirny are the chief organizers of VCLR’s Serendipity 2014: Children’s Literature in a Digital Age (at UBC, Saturday, March 8).

Kay entered the Program with enviable background.  She was a school librarian for 30 years in Illinois, a longtime reviewer (she has reviewed for Booklist since 1989) and a juror for the Newbery Award of the American Library Association.  In moving to Canada and into the Canadian children’s book milieu, Kay reviewed for CM Magazine: Canadian Review of Materials (since 2008) and in 2009 she began a five-year term as a member of the Canadian Library Association’s Book of the Year for Children Award (BOYC).

Kay keeps her finger on the pulse of children’s literature by attending conferences, and sometimes presents papers, too. Among these are papers presented at the Children’s Literature Association in 2010 and at the Laura Ingalls Wilder Conference, LauraPalooza, in 2012.   For a small introduction to Kay’s work, see an interview about Canadian and American Book Awards at

2009: Karen Taylor

JobeScholarship2009Thesis: Her Knowledge of Flora and Fauna Came Mostly from Fiction: The Adolescent as Green Subject in Three Canadian Young Adult Novels

Karen is currently working as the communications and project manager for a non-profit organization that develops K-12 print and online social studies curriculum support materials.  She was very active in the children’s literature community as a student, especially as the primary organizer of The Graduate Student Conference on Children’s Literature.   She has stayed involved in the children’s literature community by playing a key role on the Vancouver Children’s Literature Roundtable Steering Community,  managing their website, event promotion, and registrations. She has also remained connected to the academic community of children’s literature as the editor of a new peer-reviewed online journal, Journal of Graduate Research in Young People’s Materials and Culture. When she has time in her busy work and family life, she tutors graduate students and provides copy editing and graphic design services on a contract basis.

2008: Janet Grafton

Jane GraftonThesis: Girls and Green Space: Sickness to Health Narratives in Children’s Literature

Janet is in the second year of a PhD in Environmental Studies (UNBC).  Her research focuses on using farm narratives to teach food security to children.  She is currently working as an organic farmer on Salt Spring Island. (That’s what you might call real field work for a scholar.)


2008: Elizabeth Walker

Lizzie WalkerThesis:  Advanced, Forthright, Significant: A Bakhtinian Analysis of Willans’ and Searle’s Molesworth Series

Lizzie is now a Teacher-Librarian at St. George’s Junior School in Vancouver.   “This is basically my dream job,” she says.  And, she observes:  “Guess it didn’t hurt researching boys’ school stories!”  She maintains a blog which, she says, chronicles her adventures in Libraryland.

2007 Scholarship winners Shannon Ozirny and Brianne Grant (with Ronald Jobe, centre)

2007 Scholarship winners Shannon Ozirny and Brianne Grant (with Ronald Jobe, centre)

2007: Brianne Grant

Thesis:  Where Hope Lives: An Examination of the Relationship between Protagonists and Education Systems in Contemporary Native North American Young Adult Fiction

Brianne is the EDI Coordinator at UBC’s Human Early Learning Partnership (HELP). The work concerns the links of population health to human development, emphasizing the special role of early child development as a determinant for healthy child development.  Going forward from her MA in Children’s Literature,  Brianne  has  focused her career and volunteer work on fostering stronger local communities to support child and youth development.  She is currently on maternity leave while living in Victoria with her husband and two children.  Her youngest, a girl, was born fall 2013. Her future may involve a doctoral program in child and family health.  Brianne was a former executive member for IBBY Canada, the International Board on Books for Young People.

2007: Shannon Ozirny

Thesis: The Big Shoes of Little Bear: The Publication History, Emergence and Literary Potential of the Easy Reader.

After completing her Master of Arts in Children’s Literature in 2008, Shannon went on to complete another Master’s degree in Library and Information Studies in 2010.  She is now the Head of Youth Services at the West Vancouver Memorial Library.  Shannon regularly reviews children’s and teen literature for Quill & Quire.  She has been a juror for BC Book Prizes, a committee member for Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s  annual  Best Books for Kids and Teens, and the coordinator for Vancouver Public Library’s Children’s and Teen Writing and Reading Book Camp Program. Shannon is active in conferences connected with children’s literature and media, including presenting a paper at the 2011 MLA conference.  Shannon also serves on the Steering Committee of the Vancouver Children’s literature Roundtable. At present, she and Kay Weisman are the chief organizers of VCLR’s Serendipity 2014: Children’s Literature in a Digital Age (at UBC, Saturday, March 8).

2006: Genevieve Brissson

Genevieve BrissonThesis:  Preadolescent Boys’ Paths to Reading: Balancing Identity and Agency

Genevieve is now a full-time doctoral candidate in Literacy Education in LLED at UBC. Her research interests include literacy and language practices of children in Francophone minority settings, digital literacy, Canadian and Québécois children’s literature, and literature in translation. After completing her MA in Children’s Literature, Genevieve worked as a teacher-librarian at a Francophone school in Vancouver, as a French instructor at UBC and Capilano University, and then as the Coordinator of the Languages Department at Capilano.  Genevieve’s work has been published in Children’s Literature in Education, Canadian Journal for New Scholars in Education, Éducation Francophone en Milieu Minoritaire, and Canadian Journal of Education. She is executive member of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People.  Genevieve is also the proud mother of a two-year-old daughter who speaks French, English, and her own language!

Jobe Winner2005: Maryn Brown Quarles

Thesis:  The Outlaws of Laar. [A fantasy novel for middle grade readers]

Maryn writes that children’s literature naturally continues to enrich and inspire her work and play. As a classroom teacher, and at times a teacher-librarian or learning assistance teacher, she continues in her quest to connect children with quality literature.  She says, “I live to see the wonder, delight, learning and social-emotional growth that books uniquely and individually evoke in each child.” Early literacy and creative writing remain great passions for her, and she now shares her collection of children’s books with her three year-old son and newborn daughter.

If you would like to find out more about MACL alumni, go to the MACL website, for those students who have provided information.
If you would like to make a donation to support the Ronald Jobe Children’s Literature Scholarship, you may make your gift today online at, by calling 604.827.4111 (toll free 1.877.717.4483) or by mailing a cheque to: Annual Giving, 500-5950 University Blvd, Vancouver BC V6T 1Z3.