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NIDCD Grantee Receives 'Genius Award'

Dr. Carol Padden
Dr. Carol Padden, recipient of a
MacArthur Foundation “genius” award.

NIDCD grantee Carol Padden, Ph.D., is the recent recipient of what is popularly known as a “genius” award from the MacArthur Foundation—a fellowship that comes with a stipend of $500,000.

Dr. Padden is a professor of communication at the University of California, San Diego, where she also received her Ph.D. in linguistics. Her research focuses on the unique structure and evolution of sign language. She has most recently focused on Al-Sayyid Bedouin Sign Language, from the south of Israel, which was created within a closed community approximately 75 years ago. By investigating the structure of this emerging sign language, Dr. Padden and her team will be able to trace the roots of language evolution as it develops naturally within a community.

The MacArthur Fellowship Program was established in 1981 to enable recipients to exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society. “The freedom to pursue novel ideas is something I’ve always wanted to do,” says Dr. Padden, “and I’m grateful for the opportunity.”

Dr. Padden is the first deaf individual to receive the prestigious award, which has been given to 823 individuals since its inception. The award allows recipients to work on any project that interests them, with no requirements for specific products or reports.

You can learn more about Dr. Padden on her website.

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