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Kelsey Jopp ’16 Wins Kerlan Essay Award

Amber Siddiqui ’17
Publication date: 
March 16, 2017
“Morris has prepared me to find satisfaction in my career...I now know what to make a priority as I build my career.”—Kelsey Jopp ’16

As part of an Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP) project, Kelsey Jopp '16 wrote an essay titled "Creativity Gone to the Dogs: Rediscovering the Creative Process through Drafts of Kate DiCamillo's Because of Winn Dixie" in collaboration with Michael Lackey, Distinguished McKnight University Professor of English; this essay won her first prize in the University of Minnesota Libraries Kerlan Essay Award contest.

The Kerlan Essay Award is presented for an outstanding paper written during the preceding school year by a college or university student using the resources of the Children's Literature Research Collections. The award emphasizes creative implementation of resources acquired from the Kerlan Collection as well as writing style and organization of the paper.

Jopp believes her Morris experience led to her success, in both the contest and her current career. By using skills developed in her English classes, Jopp was able to develop ideas for her essay. Workshopping drafts with classmates enabled her to get enough practice with revision to thoroughly analyze DiCamillo's drafts from start to finish. As a tutor in the Writing Center and a residential director, she realized how much she loves forming lasting relationships with her coworkers and getting to know them for who they are. Through these opportunities and more, she acknowledged important aspects of herself and acquired the industry knowledge and technical skills she needed to become a successful editorial assistant.

"Morris has prepared me to find satisfaction in my career," Jopp says. "I prefer working on one project at a deep level rather than several at the surface. This knowledge is invaluable, as I now know what to make a priority as I build my career," she adds.

According to Lackey, winning this award has been a significant accomplishment not only for Jopp, but also for the English Discipline and for Morris.

"Kelsey has done a major project advancing our understanding of the creative process," he says. "That she won the Kerlan award indicates that experts consider her work of the highest caliber. This award goes to the best paper not just at Morris, but the whole University of Minnesota system," he adds.

This activity was supported by the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program. To learn more about undergraduate research opportunities at Morris, visit