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Eau Claire Native Places First in Distinguished Master's Thesis Competition

RELEASED: Dec. 11, 2008

Krista Hebel
Krista Hebel

EAU CLAIRE — Krista Hebel, Eau Claire, was awarded first place in the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire's Distinguished Master's Thesis Competition for her thesis titled "Wielding 'A Power the Dark Lord Knows Not': Harry Potter and the Heroics of Care."

Hebel received her master's degree in English in August 2008.

Each year, faculty members are invited to nominate exceptional quality theses, with judging provided by a Graduate Council faculty committee. Dr. Theresa Kemp, professor of English and Hebel's thesis adviser, submitted her paper to the competition, describing it as "extensively researched and a model of clarity." Kemp described the paper, which takes a feminist approach to the reading of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter novels, as "theoretically sophisticated and beautifully written," and "a unique contribution to the study of Rowling's novels."

Hebel said she had been interested in the Harry Potter novels since a favorite high school English teacher recommended them to her years ago. Although she was skeptical, she has since read the series multiple times and spent a summer reading literary criticism about the novels.

"That's when I decided I wanted to use feminist theory, but I had no idea where to go with it," said Hebel. "If it wasn't for Theresa, I am certain that I would never have finished my thesis. She was instrumental in helping me develop and focus my argument when my ideas were still so nebulous that I didn't have a clue how to articulate them ... I can't thank her enough for being such a great adviser."

Hebel is now working full-time in administration as well as teaching a course in English composition at Globe University in Eau Claire.

The Distinguished Master's Thesis award included a $200 cash prize and submission to the Midwestern Association of Graduate Schools thesis competition for spring 2009.

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NW/JB

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