The Elizabeth R. Epperly Award for Outstanding Early Career Paper is an opportunity for the L.M. Montgomery Institute to recognize emerging scholars for their wonderful work. The competition is held in association with the Biennial L.M. Montgomery Conference. Scholars who are within three years of having completed their terminal degree are encouraged to submit their conference papers two weeks prior to the event itself. Participants are evaluated based on the quality of their papers and the presentations they give at the conference. The winner, who is announced at the conference banquet, receives a certificate, complimentary full registration at the following biennial conference, and name recognition on a plaque that is placed in the LMMI space in the Robertson Library.
Sounds pretty great, doesn’t it? And it is! If you are an emerging scholar, this competition is definitely an opportunity worth pursuing. Applying for awards can be an intimidating experience, but it’s an important part of opening yourself up to new possibilities.

When I was trying to work up the courage to apply to this competition in 2018, I ended up giving myself a motivational pep talk. I still find the major points of that pep talk helpful when pursuing new opportunities, so I have shared them below in the hope that they will be equally helpful to you.

  1. Believe. Believe in your ability to create something of value. If you see the potential in your idea and are fully committed to developing it, others will start to see it as well. The more you believe in the project, the more invested you will be in its progress, regardless of whether there is an award attached. When you believe in your work and are committed to improving it, there is no telling where it might take you. View this competition as an opportunity to invest in your growth as a scholar.
  2. Engage. Engage with the work of other researchers that will expand your ideas. The community of Montgomery scholars has created a vibrant body of work over the years. Treat yourself to the experience of being inspired by their words! If you are lacking an idea and don’t know where to begin, begin by reading. Learn what has been said and what you would like to say in response to it. Your ideas, in conversation with the work of other scholars, creates a new perspective. That perspective is your contribution.
  3. Imagine. Imagine that you are the conference attendees sitting in the audience who have come because they love Montgomery’s books. Reflect on what you can do to make your presentation that much more interesting for them. This might involve taking extra time to design a PowerPoint with compelling visuals. It might involve practising your delivery multiple times to ensure the pace of your reading and quality of your expression is engaging for an audience. Chances are, if you have fun giving your presentation, your audience will have fun listening to it.

Well, that’s it for this pep talk! I hope that it leaves you 1) Believing in your ability to produce outstanding work; 2) Engaging with other fantastic Montgomery scholarship; and 3) Imagining the positive impacts your work will have on different audiences.

Remember, submitting is its own victory! Don’t forget to celebrate your courageous moments. Taking a chance and putting yourself out there is its own accomplishment, one that will prove to you that you have the enthusiasm and self-discipline to pursue your ambitions.

(And yes, I do realize how Anne-like that sounds.)

For more information, see here.

Submitted by Bonnie Tulloch, Ph.D. Candidate, UBC School of Information, Inaugural Recipient of the Elizabeth R. Epperly Award for Outstanding Early Career Paper

This is the final Mentoring Monday piece. Thanks to all the contributors. If you are interested in becoming a mentor or mentee, please contact Lesley Clement,

Banner image of PEI waves. Anne Victoria Photography, 2018