Beth A. Shapiro, a faculty member at Penn State University, will receive the University of Georgia Young Alumnus Award at the Georgia chapter of the Blue Key National Honor Society annual awards banquet on Nov. 5, 2010. She is being honored for her professional and civic contributions as well as her continuing engagement with her alma mater.
She graduated summa cum laude from UGA in 1999 with both bachelor’s and master’s degrees in ecology. That same year, she was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship. In 2003, she received a doctoral degree in zoology from Oxford University. After graduation, Shapiro served as a Wellcome Trust Research Fellow, a Royal Society University Fellow and director of the Henry Wellcome Ancient Biomolecules Centre in Oxford. In 2009, she was named a MacArthur Fellow. This year, she was named a National Geographic Emerging Explorer for her innovative research endeavors.
Shapiro pursues research initiatives focused around tracing the population history of recently extinct or threatened species to study biodiversity and the effects of environmental change on populations. She has been published in journals such as Science, Molecular Biology and Evolution and PLoS Biology. She has received grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health and NASA.
Shapiro is currently the Shaffer Career Development Assistant Professor in the department of biology at Penn State University. She teaches classes in biodiversity, bioinformatics, virus evolution and molecular epidemiology.