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CCYAL Staff

Stergios Botzakis is a professor of adolescent literacy at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.
His areas of expertise are content-area literacy, media literacy, and popular culture. He teaches classes on content area literacy, working with struggling adolescent readers, and theoretical models in education research. His research is about using alternative texts and media in school, with a focus on graphic novels and comics. He blogs about graphic novels at Graphic Novel Resources. 

 

Elizabeth Garcia is a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee (UTK) in the Literacy Studies program with a specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Liz holds an MFA in Children’s Literature from Hollins University and has a passion for diversity in Children’s and YA Lit. She believes we need more and better diverse children’s books and she hopes her research will ultimately help both diverse writers and readers. Contact her at egarcia6@vols.utk.edu

 

 Caitlin Metheny is a doctoral candidate in the College of Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Caitlin’s concentration is in Literacy Education, with a specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. She is a Graduate Research Assistant under Dr. Susan Groenke in the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Caitlin is also one of the co-editors of The ALAN Review. Prior to starting her doctoral studies, Caitlin was a middle school Gifted and Talented English teacher for five years. She prioritized bringing diverse and engaging literature into the classroom to motivate and meet the needs of highly advanced readers. Caitlin’s research interests stem from her teaching and personal experiences. She is interested in motivation and engagement for reading YAL, using YAL to tell historically silenced narratives, preparing teacher education students to utilize YAL with a critical lens in their future classrooms, and using YAL as an avenue to promote empathy within adolescents and greater society. Contact her at cmetheny@vols.utk.edu

 

Arianna Drossopoulos is a doctoral candidate at the University of Tennessee (UTK) in the Literacy Studies program with a specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Arianna is a Graduate Research Assistant and works in the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature under Dr. Groenke. Arianna is also one of the co-editors of The ALAN Review. Her research interests focus on the connections between adolescent reading engagement, motivation, and YAL. Prior to enrolling at UTK, Arianna was a ninth-grade English teacher in a large district in Connecticut. Contact her at adrossop@vols.utk.edu

Julia Watts is the author of over a dozen novels for adult and young adult readers. Her young adult novel Finding H.F. won the 2002 Lambda Literary Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category, and her 2018 young adult novel Quiver was an Indie Awards finalist, a VOYA Perfect 10 Award winner, and a Southeastern Independent Booksellers’ Association Okra Pick. Julia is a member of the East Tennessee Writers’ Hall of Fame and recently won the Tennessee Library Association’s Intellectual Freedom Award. She is currently in the PhD program with a concentration in Literacy Education and a specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Literature.

Heather J. Matthews is a doctoral student in the College of Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Heather is studying children’s and young adult literature, with special attention to diverse and equitable representations. Heather is a graduate teaching assistant and helps manage the collection at the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. She also serves on the Association of Jewish Libraries’ Sydney Taylor Manuscript Award committee. Prior to beginning her degree program at UTK, Heather was a k-12 literacy specialist in New York state. Contact her at hmatthe9@vols.utk.edu.

Laura Davis is a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee studying Young Adult Literature. Currently, she’s interested in varying representations of body image in contemporary YA and how these representations can be tools for empathic discourse. Prior to attending the University of Tennessee, she taught high school juniors and seniors for dual credit English. In the future, she hopes to either return to the secondary classroom or teach at the university level: whichever best allows her to impart her love of YA on readers. Contact her at ldavi129@vols.utk.edu.

Cammie Jo Lawton is a doctoral student at the University of Tennessee (UTK) in the Literacy Studies program with a specialization in Children’s and Young Adult Literature. Cammie is a Graduate Assistant for the Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature under Dr. Groenke. Cammie also assists Dr. Wooten in the children’s literature course. Her research interests focus on the connections between young adult literature, empathy building, and spiritual/religious formation and exploration. Prior to enrolling at UTK, Cammie taught amazing sophomores at West High School in Knoxville, TN. Contact her at cmcgreev@vols.utk.edu.