2019 Committee Members

 JennyJennifer Burke, DeWitt, NY

Jennifer is the Children’s Librarian at DeWitt Community Library where she has worked since 2008, straight out of library school! She received her B.A. in English Literature from Wells College and her M.S. in Information Science from University at Albany, State University of New York. She served on the Empire State Award committee and is an active member of the Youth Services Section of New York Library Association. She has been on the SABA committee since 2012.

 Jess Meyer, San Marcos, TXface

Jess Meyer herds cats teaches World History and World History AP at San Marcos High School in San Marcos, Tx.  She also co-teaches World History for the 10th grade.

Maryann H. Owen Maryann Owen, Mt. Pleasant, WI (2018 Committee Chair)

Maryann is a member of the 2015 – 2016 South Asia Book Award Committee and is a Youth Services librarian at the Oak Creek Public Library.  She has served on the following committees:  Wisconsin Library Association’s Elizabeth Burr Award, the UW-Madison Cooperative Children’s Book Center’s Charlotte Zolotow Award, and the American Library Association’s Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, Notable Children’s Books, the Odyssey Award and the Carnegie Medal/Notable Children’s Videos Award.  She also reviews books for School Library Journal and Booklist magazine.


Sarah Sharp, Philadelphia, PA

Sarah Sharp is currently a classroom teacher at William Penn Charter School, a 325-year-old Quaker school in Philadelphia.  She teaches social studies at the 9th, 11th, and 12th grade levels.  A life-long learner, Sarah has traveled to the Caribbean and the Middle East.  As part of her trips, she strives to bring back new ideas, new connections, and new images to share with wide audiences to help break down barriers across global populations.  In her spare time, she is an avid spinner at her local gym, enjoys Skyping with her 3-year old granddaughter, and devours murder mysteries.  Sarah holds a B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. in history from the University of California at San Diego.

 Rachel Weiss (center)Rachel Weiss, Madison, WI

Rachel is the Undergraduate Advisor and Graduate Program Coordinator in the Department of Asian Languages & Cultures at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received a B.A. in Art History with a focus in Asian Art and an M.A. in South Asian Studies in which she focused her studies on Religions of India at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Rachel served as SABA’s award coordinator from 2011-2017. (Photo L to R: Marge Loch-Wouters (past Committee Member 2012), Rachel Weiss, Shawn Brommer (past Chair and Committee Member, 2012-2013).

Emera Bridger WilsonEmera Bridger Wilson, South Asia Center, Syracuse, NY (Award Coordinator and Content Specialist)

Emera is the associate director/outreach coordinator at the Syracuse University’s South Asia Center. She is also a PhD candidate in Anthropology whose research focuses on tourism and work in North India. She joined the SABA committee in 2014.


Nidhi Vij Mali, Oxford, MS

Nidhi is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Public Policy Leadership at The University of Mississippi. She has a PhD in Public Administration from The Maxwell School, Syracuse University. Her research focuses on the use mobile technologies in public administration, and social welfare policies in a global comparative context, specifically South Asia. She has worked in South Asia for over a decade across a wide array of rural development programs such as mid-day meals, rural employment guarantee act, and maternal health benefits in rural India. For her doctoral dissertation, she worked with Korku tribal women in Norther Maharastra. Dr. Vij has published in American Review of Public Administration and International Journals such as IDS Bulletin and Human Affairs.

Mary Spirito Hennessey, Lansing, MI

Mary Spirito Hennessey is the Director of the Volunteer English Tutoring Program at Michigan State University, where she works with students and scholars from all over the world.  She also leads the International Book Club for LATTICE (Linking All Types of Teachers to International Cross-Cultural Education).  Before retirement, Mary was a librarian for many years, where she received awards from the American Library Association, the Michigan Library Association, the City of East Lansing, Michigan, and Michigan State University for her service to teens and the community. She holds a B.A. degree from Southern Connecticut State University, and an A.M.L.S. degree from the University of Michigan.

South Asia National Outreach Consortium