As a student in Port Aransas, Nancy Rabalais never had money, but she always had the sea.
"Fish and oysters, crabs - whatever we needed we could always get something to eat somehow," she said. "Plus it was fun to get them."
Her lifelong affinity and stewardship for the marine environment was recognized this fall when she received one of 23 MacArthur Foundation fellowships, colloquially known as genius grants. It comes with $500,000 and no strings attached - no reporting requirements, no grant writing and no pressure.
The foundation created the exclusive fellowships to allow highly motivated creative people to pursue their interests without bureaucratic hassles. Recipients don't apply; they must be nominated. The fellows cover diverse fields that are often hard to define. This year's class includes artists, writers, scientists, a social worker and a violin bowmaker.
Rabalais, 62, a marine ecologist and executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, received the fellowship for her work documenting so-called "dead zones" - low-oxygen areas - of the Gulf of Mexico.
via 'Genius grant' recipient studying Gulf dead zones traces career path from Coastal Bend » Corpus Christi Caller-Times.