Award Recipient Opens Minds to Great Authors, Their Craft

Before she became captivated by the words of Mark Twain, Herman Melville and Nathaniel Hawthorne, Dr. Jenifer Elmore, associate professor of English at Palm Beach Atlantic University, fell in love with the language of mathematics and science.

“I felt like that’s where I wanted to excel, and that’s where my curiosity was,” Dr. Elmore said. “I loved abstract equations, math and physics.”

Dr. Jenifer Elmore. Palm Beach Atlantic University (PBA) is a private, accredited, Christ-centered college located in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.
Dr. Jenifer Elmore

Yet as an undergraduate at the University of the South, she found herself taking more and more English courses. “I did always love to read,” she said.

Today, she shares that love of reading with countless PBA students. After eight years of teaching classics of American literature, composition and other subjects at PBA, Dr. Elmore recently received the Charles and Hazel Corts Award for Outstanding Teaching.

The award carries with it the responsibility of serving as the Faculty Grand Marshal for the coming academic year. She will carry the University's mace in procession at all ceremonial functions, such as degree-granting ceremonies and other formal convocations.

The Award for Outstanding Teaching is provided by an endowment fund established in 1995 by former PBA President Dr. Paul Corts and his wife, Diane, in honor of his parents and in recognition of their commitment to higher education and scholarship. Palm Beach Atlantic previously presented a “Professor of the Year” award annually.

“There are so many deserving people who could have received the award,” Dr. Elmore said. “There is so much talent and dedication in the faculty.”

Since joining the PBA faculty in 2005, Dr. Elmore has been actively involved in campus programs. Along with Professor of Music Dr. Tim Thompson, Dr. Elmore co-chaired PBA’s Quality Enhancement Plan, Think for Yourself - Write for Others. She also serves as coordinator of the English Department and is a member of the University’s Spiritual Vitality Task Force.

She also works with students developing collaborative papers that have been presented at conferences and published in peer-reviewed journals, according to those who nominated her for the award.

She presently is working with senior Caitlyn Girardi on a project that deals with the biblical curse of Ham and its relationship to Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.” Their paper was presented earlier this year at the Southern American Studies Association Annual Conference in Charleston, S.C.

Girardi, who is double-majoring in English and biblical studies, said that she has benefited greatly from working alongside her professor. She added that Dr. Elmore fosters open discussion in the classroom.

“I’ve come up with some of my best ideas in her classes,” Girardi said.

Prior to teaching on the college level, Dr. Elmore taught mathematics at St. Andrews School in Boca Raton, and she worked part-time as a writer for the Palm Beach Post’s Living section. She also spent a year as managing editor of the Tennis News of Florida.

She then went back to school at Florida State University, and she completed her graduate studies in 2002. She soon found work as an adjunct professor teaching literature at Florida Atlantic University’s Honors College.

When she came on board at PBA three years later, she said she instantly felt a connection. “I loved the department,” she said.

She specializes in composition and literature before 1900, but she also enjoys sharing the works of little-known women authors like Catharine Sedgwick, she said. She cites novelist Toni Morrison as her favorite living author.

In addition to her duties at PBA, Dr. Elmore has been active at St. David’s in the Pines Episcopal Church in Wellington. She is the former Vacation Bible School and Sunday School director, and she has served for the past 14 years as a member of the Board of Directors for the church’s elementary school.

She also leads the church’s Guild of the Christ Child ministry for expectant mothers and new families, and she produces the annual live nativity event at Christmas.

Her husband of 25 years, Charles, is a senior writer for the Palm Beach Post. Their oldest daughter, Holly, recently graduated from Vanderbilt University and will begin working toward a doctorate at Harvard University. Their middle child, Shelby, recently completed her first year of nursing school at Florida State.

Their youngest, 9-year-old, Andrew, is a student at Binks Forest Elementary School, where Dr. Elmore volunteers.