Kate LaPrad receives Emalea Warner Award

By Lynn R. Parks

Kate LaPrad feels a special bond with Emalea Pusey Warner. Warner, who lived from 1853 - 1948, was a major force in the founding of the Women's College at the University of Delaware, where LaPrad, a 2003 graduate of Seaford High School, is a senior. "If education for women in Delaware had a founding mother, it was [Warner]," wrote Carol Hoffecker in her history of women at the university, "Beneath Thy Guiding Hand." Warner Hall, the dormitory for women on the university's Newark campus where LaPrad has lived the last two years, was named for Warner. And now, LaPrad has been named the 2007 recipient of the Emalea Pusey Warner Award, handed out each year to the outstanding woman in the senior class. "It is cool that I live in Warner and that I am getting this recognition," said LaPrad, 21. "I feel a lot of connections there." Understanding connections between the past and the present is LaPrad's strength. A history and art history major, with minors in American material culture studies and medieval studies, she hopes one day to work at a history museum, helping other people to understand those connections. "Education is where I will be, involving everyone across the social and ethnic spectrums in the museum," she said. "I want to help make the museum a place where everyone can feel welcome." Understanding history is an important component of good citizenry, she said. "History tells us who we are as a people and as Americans, and teaches us about our experiences in this country and in relation to other countries," she said. "History is important to help us understand politics and the way our country deals with other countries." LaPrad was nominated for the Warner award by Katharine Kerrane, senior associate director of the honors program at the university. "The award is for the outstanding woman in the senior class and Kate absolutely fits that," Kerrane said. "She excels in leadership and in academics." LaPrad is a student in the university's honors program and is one of a handful of DuPont Scholars in her class. In her sophomore and junior years, she was chairwoman of the DuPont Scholars' lecture series, responsible for arranging for speakers to visit the campus. This year, she is acting as a mentor for students who will take care of the series after she has graduated. She is a four-year member of Students Acting for Gender Equality (SAGE), for which she was treasurer for three years. As a freshman, she was inducted into the history honor society, Thi Alpha Theta, and is its president this year. She has participated in three studies abroad, in London, where she studied music, in Paris, where she studied European history, and in Italy, where the focus of her study was the Italian language and music. During the summer between her freshman and sophomore years, she was a summer intern at the Biggs Museum of American Art, Dover. Since then, she has spent her summers at Plymouth Plantation, Plymouth, Mass., where she was an intern then coordinator of the summer program. During the university's 2007 winter session, she returned to Plymouth to work in the development office, writing grant requests.

For two years, she was a mentor in the university's program for incoming freshmen. She traveled weekly to the university's southern campus in Georgetown to meet with classes of 20 freshmen, one when she was a junior, two when she was a senior. "That was fun – exhausting, but really fun," she said. "It was a way to give back to a county that has done a lot for me." In September, LaPrad helped to found Uganda Untold, a campus organization designed to raise awareness of the 20-year civil war in that African nation. "That war has been going on for most of our lives, and most of us had no idea," she said. The group wants "to raise awareness so everybody on campus knows what's going on. Maybe it's a little thing, but we want to do our part to inform citizens about the war." LaPrad, who describes herself as a "very energetic person," said that it is her passion about the many activities in which she is engaged that "really help to get me up in the morning." She also credits the "support of the many people I've met" at the university, and the conversations she has with them, for keeping her energized. "I always look forward to going to the dining hall and hearing from other people," she said. "We have some amazing people on campus and I always like to hear about what they are doing." As for next year, LaPrad said that she is waiting to hear from Teach for America, a program through which college graduates agree to teach for two years in rural or urban schools. She is interested in teaching in a rural school, she said. She has also applied for several jobs in museum development. She expects in a few years to return to college, to study toward an advanced degree in history as well as in business administration. "I believe that it is helpful for people in museums to have a solid background in business," she said. The best advice she can give to graduating high school seniors who will start college next year is to get involved in campus organizations. "You will meet people and opportunities will open up for you," she said. "Don't be afraid to speak up, to ask questions and to let people know how you feel. People really can make a difference." Kerrane believes that one of those people who will be making a difference is LaPrad herself. "Kate is a wonderful person," she said. "There is no question that when she graduates, she will make a real contribution."

Personal file
Kathryn LaPrad
Age: 21
Hometown: Seaford
Education: 2003 graduate of Seaford High School and soon-to-be graduate of the University of Delaware
Accomplishment: Winner of the Emalea Pusey Warner Award for the outstanding woman in the senior class
Family: Parents Phil and Penny LaPrad, Seaford, grandparents Kathryn LaPrad, Seaford, and the late Peter LaPrad, and the late John and Lois Stetz, Claymont

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