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The 2021 Warner and Taylor Award recipients are, from left, Nishant Chintala, Jessica Harding and Miriam-Helene Rudd.
Miriam-Helene Rudd, a graduating senior with double majors in art conservation and art history, is one of three students honored by the University of Delaware Alumni Association (UDAA) as outstanding members of the Class of 2021.
Rudd and Jessica Harding are this year's recipients of the Emalea Pusey Warner Award, and Nishant Chintala has received the Alexander J. Taylor Award. All three are in the Honors College.
Presented annually, the Warner and Taylor awards recognize seniors
who demonstrate leadership, academic success and community service.
Students must also have a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or
better at the end of the first semester of senior year.
The recipients will be honored at a virtual awards celebration
on Saturday, June 5, during Virtual Alumni Weekend. The UD community,
friends and families are invited to attend. Their names will also be
inscribed on a wall in the Alumni Circle, located near the Carpenter
Sports Building (Little Bob) on campus, which honors all UDAA award
recipients, as well as alumni volunteers and leaders who have made
significant impacts at the University.
To learn about the 2020 Warner and Taylor Award recipients, who will also be honored at a celebration this year, you can read this UDaily article from May 2020.
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In this 2019 photo, Miriam-Helene Rudd shows a few of the books from her large collections of Nancy Drew and other adventure series about and for young women.
Rudd, who in addition to her two majors will graduate with minors in history and fashion history and culture, entered
UD as a Francis Alison Distinguished Scholar, a merit-based academic
scholarship awarded to an incoming student with broad intellectual
enthusiasm for the arts, humanities and social sciences. Through the
Honors College at UD, she went on to enroll in more challenging,
rewarding courses and will receive an honors degree with distinction.
Her academic achievements have been recognized by a Woman of Promise
Award in 2018, a French Department Award of Merit in 2019, the Phi Beta
Kappa Clift and DeArmond Award in 2019 and the David J. Toman Art
Conservation Departmental Award in 2021.
In spring 2019, she placed second in the Seth Trotter Book Collecting
Contest through UD’s Library with her collection “20th Century
Mystery Adventure Series for Young Women.” Her placement enabled her to
enter the National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest, for which she
also placed second and represented UD at an awards ceremony at the
Library of Congress.
Rudd volunteered with the Historic Costume and Textile Collection and
worked for the Center for Historic Art and Design and the Conservation
Lab of the UD Library. An accomplishment for which she is most proud is
facilitating mentorship programs through the Art Conservation Club and
serving as a peer-mentor herself.
“As a small major, it is important to build a supportive community,”
she said. “The Art Conservation Club directly assists art conservation
majors academically and socially, engages the broader community, and
educates and advocates about conservation.”
Social events have included craft and game nights and museum trips.
She also worked to develop an online resource that students can access
for documents with advice on graduate school, examples of portfolios and
resumes and a list of recommendations for art conservation-related
digital media, books and webinars.
“Miriam-Helene’s leadership on campus provides a broader service to
the conservation community, providing an informal outlet and resource
for aspiring conservators,” said Nina Owczarek, assistant professor in
the Department of Art Conservation.
Rudd has also served in leadership roles for Chronic Illness Advocates and the Swing Dance Club.
“Miriam-Helene is deeply talented, very highly intelligent and a
superb ambassador for the value and impact of interdisciplinary study at
the University of Delaware,” said Debra Hess Norris, Chair and
Professor of Photograph Conservation, Unidel-Henry Francis DuPont Chair
of Fine Arts and Director of Winterthur/UD Program in Art Conservation.
“Clearly in the top 5% of all undergraduates for the past 30 years,
Miriam-Helene is organized, excited, compassionate, passionate and
extraordinarily kind — skills and attributes our world needs now more
Rudd will be continuing at UD as a member of the 2024 class of the
graduate Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation.
During her first year on campus, Jessica Harding, switched her
major from biology to the Energy and Environmental Policy 4+1 degree in
the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration — and she never
“This major combined what I loved: environmental advocacy and public
policy,” she said. “I was able to start taking graduate-level courses my
junior year, which challenged me in a new way.”
Harding graduates with an Honors Degree with Distinction in late May and will complete her master’s degree next year.
In this past academic year, she has served as a graduate research
intern for The Biden Institute and as an environmental sustainability
intern in Washington, D.C., for She Grows It, a firm for emerging
companies in urban agriculture, research and development and
“She demonstrates curiosity and an eagerness to learn and has
maintained a positive attitude throughout the inevitable ups and downs
of research,” said Casey L. Taylor, assistant professor, energy and
environmental policy. In Taylor’s water resources management course,
Harding built her senior research thesis around the topic of food waste,
focused on peoples’ food habits during the pandemic.
Additionally, Harding was a member of the varsity cross country and
track and field teams, serving on the leadership council for the teams
and on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. She earned all-conference
honors her sophomore year and in her junior year she ran a time that
put her in the all-time top 10 in school history in her event. This
year, she earned the silver medal during the Colonial Athletic
Association outdoor track and field championships.
“Athletics is where I have really learned to thrive as a leader,”
Harding said. “I joined the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, became
one of our team’s UDance representatives, and joined the inaugural
member class of HenMinded, a group aimed at reducing mental health
stigma in athletics.”
Harding also served as an Orientation Leader in 2019, leading small
groups of peers, developing mentorship relationships and helping to
support the entire first year and transfer Orientation program.
“Jess loves being a Blue Hen,” said Christine Yang Schultz, associate
director of UD’s Honors College and a two-time alumna of UD. “She has
truly grown here and taken advantage of all that we could offer even
though it wasn’t always easy.”
Nishant Chintala, who double majored in finance and computer
science, has not only juggled classes and requirements in programs under
two different colleges, but thrived with a 3.97 GPA.
“I was humbled and honored to be nominated for the prestigious
Alexander J. Taylor Sr. Award,” said Chintala, who is a Distinguished
Scholar. “I come from a family of immigrants — go-getters determined to
find a better life in America. I knew college was going to be
transformational for me; however, I don’t think anyone, including
myself, could have foreseen just how transformational it truly was.”
Chintala has participated in the Blue Hen Leadership Program, which
he became involved in through QUEST, a weeklong leadership workshop for
freshmen just before the fall semester begins. “Right off the bat, I was
exposed to core fundamentals of leadership development, including
working with others to solve problems,” Chintala said about the
He has continued to hone his leadership skills and apply them toward
service activities at UD and in the surrounding communities. Chintala is
a member of the Alpha Kappa Psi business fraternity, a volunteer for
UDance to raise funds toward tackling childhood cancer, and a tutor at
Urban Promise, an underprivileged school in Wilmington. He has engaged
in undergraduate research with one of his professors, volunteered at a
local nonprofit based in Wilmington, served as a Blue Hen Ambassador and
also as a finance tutor at UD and has held positions in the Blue Hen
Investment Club, for which he helped manage over $3 million in
University assets in an actual investment portfolio.
“I met Nish in August of 2017, and quickly learned that he is a young
man with considerable talent and intelligence, outstanding moral
character and significant leadership potential,” said Susan Luchey,
associate director of University Student Centers for Leadership
He represented UD on a six-person team in the Mid-Atlantic Regional
Collegiate Leadership Competition, an international competition among
colleges based on teams’ ability to problem solve using prescribed
leadership skills. Luchey said that Chintala was voted as the team’s MVP
based on his ability to bring the team together and his uncanny ability
to memorize many of the problem-solving techniques that also led the
team to win the overall championship trophy.
“Nish is a consistent campus leader who is clearly guided by values,
and who will use his passion and intelligence to positively impact
anything in which he is involved,” Luchey said.
He has accepted a full-timMegan Maccherone
Photo by Kathy F. Atkinson
May 18, 2021e position in New York with Bloomberg, a
job he was offered after the completion of his summer internship with
Article by Megan Maccherone; photo by Kathy F. Atkinson and Sean Diffendall
May 18, 2021