Emory Report

May 30, 2000

 Volume 52, No. 34

McMullan Award: Danielle Sered

Add another honor to Sered's collection

By Deb Hammacher

By nearly every academic and social standard, it has been an extraordinary year for Danielle Sered. Her senior year was preceded by a research trip to Ireland (more about that later), in December she was selected as one of only 32 Rhodes Scholars, then in February she was named to USA Today's 20-member All-USA College Academic First Team.

\What better punctuation for her college career than to earn the University's Lucius Lamar McMullan Award-and its accompanying $20,000, no strings attached.

Sered, who will use her Rhodes scholarship to pursue her master's degree in English at Oxford University this fall, was nominated by not one, not two, but four of her professors for the McMullan Award. "All this translates into a truly exceptional student, by every standard of judgment and criteria of achievement, a person who has demonstrated the rarest potential, the highest integrity, and the purest motivation for future leadership," they wrote. "We nominate her with great pride in her presence here and with great confidence in her future. She has our highest recommendation, not only as one of Emory's best, but as one of America's best-fully worthy of the McMullan Award."

The award, endowed by Emory alumnus William L. Matheson in honor of his uncle, is given to a graduating senior who exhibits "outstanding citizenship, exceptional leadership and potential for service to his or her community, the nation and the world."

Sered's concentration is in contemporary Irish literature with particular interest in Irish female poets. Research for her senior honors thesis led her on a nine-week research trip to Ireland last summer to interview a dozen of those poets. She has published numerous essays and poems in national literary and collegiate magazines, and her critical essay on the work of Irish poet Medbh McGuckian won a national Norton Scholars Prize from W.W. Norton Company and the Modern Language Association. She also is the recipient of a Beinecke Brothers Memorial Scholarship, a national scholarship awarding $32,000 for graduate study. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa honor society.

Sered has made her mark outside the classroom as well. She founded ArtsReach, a program that teaches conflict resolution, prejudice reduction and AIDS/sex education through the arts in Atlanta city schools and juvenile detention centers; she founded the Emory Women's Alliance, a network of mentors and support for female Emory faculty, staff and students; served as president of The Stipe Society, a creative scholarship honor society; and she developed the classroom component for EN-ACTE Theater Action Troupe, a local theater company performing theater with a message in local schools.

Following graduation, Sered will use her award to pay off her student loans and hopes to write a collection of poems and concentrate on her creative writing. "There is the sense of a really huge burden being lifted," said Sered. "The award opens so many opportunities."

Sered has thought a lot about the bigger picture of the recognition she has received this year. "I have no illusions of having done this on my own, and it doesn't take an award like this to make me deeply grateful to this university and to the people who have nurtured me within it," she said.

"The thing that's really strange with awards like this is that the other people who were involved in these projects suddenly disappear. There are 10 other people on campus with ArtsReach on their resume. I know 100 people involved in the Emory Women's Alliance, so I feel that on some level I'm accepting this award on behalf of a lot of other people."

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