LSU Student Presents on ‘Catcher in the Rye’ Legacy at National Conference

02/11/2013 01:03 PM

BATON ROUGE – LSU undergraduate student Kate Youngblood shined as a lead presenter on the legacy of J.D. Salinger’s “The Catcher in the Rye” at The Assembly on Literature for Adolescents, or ALAN, 2012 national conference in Las Vegas. Youngblood was one of the only undergraduate participants competing for presentation spots among graduate students, professors and practicing teachers.

A Scholarship for Service Partnership for Interdisciplinary Research and Education, or ASPIRE, program at LSU gave Youngblood the opportunity to spend two years working closely and researching with Steven Bickmore, assistant professor in the LSU School of Education.

“With no exaggeration, Kate is one of the top students I have ever worked with at any level,” Bickmore said, “She is an insightful researcher, reader and writer.”

Their research found a psychological link between Holden Caulfield, of ‘The Catcher in the Rye,’ and five other modern protagonists in contemporary young adult literature. The research was peer reviewed and accepted to be presented at the conference, where Youngblood led the presentation introduction and research explanation during a session of approximately 80 attendees.

“The most interesting part of the relationship we examined to me was the fact that this character seems to repeat because adolescence is truly the only commonality that all teenagers share, and thus all high school students at some point undergo identity search or development that frequently manifests itself as teenage angst,” Youngblood said.

ALAN is an independent group under the National Council of Teachers of English, or NCTE, that promotes the assembly of individuals with a special interest in adolescent literature. This includes program presentations, organization of conferences and production of articles and publications.

The ALAN is one of NCTE’s smaller, more competitive conferences that host approximately 400 attendees. There are a total of 20 presenters at the ALAN that present during one of the 10 breakout sessions each day of the conference.

Youngblood graduates in May 2013 with a dual degree in English education and French. She has applied to prestigious masters programs and hopes to teach English through the Teaching Assistant Program in France after she graduates, but plans on returning and teaching in her hometown of New Orleans.  

“Right now, I just really cannot wait to get in the classroom,” Youngblood said, “Eventually I will return to get my Ph.D., but first I would like to have the chance and teach for a few years.”

Youngblood also presented at 2011’s Louisiana Council of Teachers of English conference in Shreveport and 2012’s National Council of Teachers of English conference in Las Vegas, Nev., which hosted approximately 40,000 attendees.

“LSU should be very proud of Kate, and I hope that all our students strive for the same dedication and work ethic that she has,” Bickmore said.
Bickmore has been involved with NCTE for 30 years and was nationally elected to serve on the Conference on English Education Executive Committee. He began his four-year term November 15, 2012 at the NCTE Annual Convention and continues as a co-editor of The ALAN Review.

“All of these conferences have affirmed my desire to enter the English education field, and I consider myself extremely lucky to have been able to lead panels with well-respected authors, such as E. Lockart, Frank Portman and David Levithan,” Youngblood said.

For more information about the ALAN assembly, visit

For more information about NCTE, visit

The School of Education is one of six schools realigned to form the new LSU College of Human Sciences & Education, joining the School of Human Resource Education and Workforce Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work and the University Laboratory School.

For more information about the School of Education, visit

Billy  Gomila 
LSU Media Relations

Posted on Monday, February 11, 2013