Jennie Ransom, 18, is a student in the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville. When she graduates in May, she will receive a high school diploma as well as an associate of science degree from the academy. She received a first place Library Day Award from the university for an essay, “Not Sense vs. Sensibility.” The award came with a $200 gift card to Wal-Mart.
|1 Why did you choose the topic you did for your essay?||
I took the class, “British Literature: Jane Austen,” last semester with Dr. Jenny Rytting. For our term paper, we were required to choose a topic relating to something we had read for the class. I chose to research Jane Austen’s “Sense and Sensibility” because it is one of my very favorite novels. There is also often a mistaken assumption about the theme behind the novel due to Austen’s often ironically deceptive writing style. It seems that she delights in deceiving her readers, and “Sense and Sensibility” is no exception to that. I took the opportunity to expose her surface meaning as a purposeful deception and explored what I believe was her true implication behind the novel.
|2 What was your process in writing the essay and how did you complete the research?||
I began by brainstorming ideas for my topic, and eventually chose “Sense and Sensibility.” I then spent an evening scanning through all of the books at B. D. Owens Library about Jane Austen and her writing for references to the novel. I checked out probably 10 books, and then set out to more thoroughly analyze what was written and to decide how I would approach my argument.... Once I finished annotating each resource, I decided the when, where and how of implementing the ideas given in each source. I used a few online references as well, also accessed through Northwest. The Northwest library system is marvelous for research, and without it I would not have been able to access this kind of research.
|3 What was your reaction when you found you placed first in the Library Research Awards contest?||
I was humbled. Throughout the semester, I had received so much encouragement from my friends and my professor, Dr. Rytting. I would not have been able to write such an essay if it had not been for that support and for the editing help and continual moral support from my mother.
|4 What is the Missouri Academy of Science, Mathematics and Computing?||
The Missouri Academy is a two-year residential early college entrance program designed for gifted high school juniors and seniors. It gives students interested in the math and science fields a head-start in their college careers. At the end of the two years, students graduate with their high school diploma and an Associate of Science degree. Although some students choose to continue at Northwest to finish their bachelor degree, most go on after graduation to attend different colleges and universities.
|5 What has the experience been like for you, going to college earlier than your classmates in Grain Valley?||
The academy has been a wonderful experience for me, though I admit that it isn’t for everyone. The coursework can be difficult and some students are simply not emotionally ready to be away from home at 16 or 17. However, it was exactly what I needed. Looking at it academically, the coursework has given me the chance to get ahead in college at a much lower cost than I would have faced had I waited, and I have still been able to pursue my own hobbies, such as music and reading. Academics aside, the opportunity for growth and personal development I have been given by leaving home at an earlier age has been by far the greatest benefit.