For the first time I know a MacArthur Foundation Award fellow. Well, almost–by only two degrees of separation. Shannon Lee Dawdy–daughter of my good writing friend Arletta Dawdy–is now one of the distinguished MacArthur Fellows. Shannon, 43, is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Chicago.
Shannon’s work in “anthropology combined archaeological scholarship with historical preservation to reveal the dynamics of intellectual and social life in New Orleans from its establishment as a French colony to the present day.”
On her page on the MacArthur Foundation website you’ll see just how smart, pretty, and humble Shannon Lee Dawdy really is. Make sure to watch the video to hear her voice and how she speaks movingly of her work.
Shannon’s mother Arletta Dawdy has this to say about her daughter’s award:
While I have believed over the years that Shannon would be a good candidate for a MacArthur Award, it is no less stupendous to learn that she has been named.
Raising her was a challenge: loud debates with her father; babysitting at 12 and buying her Goth clothes at thrift stores; a “giraffe” in the back yard (or so she made her friends believe;) the high school teacher who challenged her paper on alternate fuels as too mature so it must have been plagiarized; early entry to Reed College when it “didn’t have intramural sports;”
and seeing her pursue advanced education, her love of archaeology and publication of many articles and her first book.
To some extent, I live vicariously through her accomplishments.