UGA alumna Beth Shapiro receives MacArthur Foundation “Genius Award”

UGA alumna Beth Shapiro receives MacArthur Foundation "Genius Award"

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia alumna Beth Shapiro (BS ’99, MS ’99), a Rhodes Scholar who is currently Shaffer Career Development assistant professor of biology at Penn State, has been selected as one of 24 MacArthur Fellows by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The prestigious award is given to talented individuals in a variety of fields based on three criteria: exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work. The fellowship is often referred to as the “Genius Award” and comes with an unrestricted stipend of $500,000 to the recipient, paid out in equal quarterly installments over five years.

Shapiro received both her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in ecology from UGA in 1999. She earned a doctoral degree in zoology from Oxford University in 2003.

Shapiro, a native of Lindale, attended UGA as a Foundation Fellow, the university’s most prestigious scholarship program for undergraduate students. The Foundation Fellowship, which is part of the Honors Program, provides full tuition, travel-study grants and research and academic conference support. In 1999, she was one of 32 Rhodes Scholars from the United States and the first female from UGA to receive the award.

Shapiro is the first UGA graduate to be named a MacArthur Fellow. In 2003, Eve Troutt Powell, an associate professor of history, became the first UGA faculty member to receive the fellowship.