5 FUN FACTS +1
1. Shaunda can boast of spending one night in a "reptile room" with about 30 snakes and lizards. Some of their cages were kept under the bed. Note: it doesn't say she "slept." Yikes!
2. Her favorite dessert is New York Style Cheesecake. She once used a recipe from memory to teach a concept in chemistry, and students raved about it. The recipe, that is. Not the lesson!
3. When she was 18, she competed against the future, Olympic multi-gold medalist, Jenny Thompson, and even though Shaunda swam the best race of her life--she still lost.
4. She embarrasses family members by taking pictures of plants at the zoo.
5. As a graduate student, she took over 40 solo backpacking trips in Rocky Mountain National Park for projects found at elevations as high as 11,700 feet. One trip up Mt. Meeker "just for fun" ended in a narrow escape from a thunderstorm at 13,800 feet.
+1. Has she mentioned she's afraid of heights? Yep. So far, she hasn't conquered this fear. A few years ago Hayden's Peak in Utah (12,479 ft) had her shaking in her boots for the whole climb. Because that's what it was--more of a climb than a hike.
So here's a question: Does she believe she'll ever get over it?
Her answer: Doesn't matter so long as I keep going back out. And up.
BACKGROUND and BOOKS
SK Wenger has been in love with books her entire life. Even while working on her science degree, her mind drifted to stories waiting to be read. When she confessed to her college advisor that she wanted to create children's books, he encouraged her to do both--continue with science and write. To her delight, some of her stories were picked up by educational publishers and have been serving kids in elementary classrooms. She also pursued collaborative projects with authors Rick Walton, Jim Fergus, and Janet Kay Jensen, and one of those books found its way into print as a literary cookbook.
Fast forward to the present. After raising a family and moving through three careers, Shaunda is thrilled that her debut picture book, Chicken Frank, Dinosaur! will be published by Albert Whitman & Co for the international market in October 2021. It is illustrated by Jojo Ensslin.
RECENT AWARDS / RECOGNITION
2021 #50PreciousWords Contest Honorable Mention in Friendship for ONE PLUS ONE (entry #660). Hosted by Vivian Kirkfield. Click here.
2021 PBParty Finalist. RAILROAD CAKE is selected from a pool of 1,000+ entries as one of 50 manuscripts for an exclusive showcase to agents and editors.
2020 Writing Fellowship Grant Award. Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers Conference (for Middle Grade Novel WIP, Loon Song Harbor)
2020 #50PreciousWords Contest Honorable Mention in Humor for WEARY ROOSTER. Hosted by Vivian Kirkfield.
2019 #PBChat Mentorship Honorable Mention for FARMYARD 4TH OF JULY
2018 Outstanding Teacher Award, Weber State University, Mentorship of student research projects at the High School Science and Engineering Fair
2017 Outstanding Biology Educator, Utah Science Teachers Association
2017 Outstanding Educator, Logan High School
B.S. Self-designed major in environmental and social sciences. University of Vermont.
M.S. Fisheries and wildlife biology with a focus on wetland ecology. Colorado State University.
Teaching license in secondary education. ABCTE and ARL programs, Utah.