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Stanford scholar named MacArthur fellow

Stanford's Jennifer Eberhardt has been named one of the 2014 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. A social psychologist, she studies the racial elements in the perceptions of crime.

Stanford psychologist Jennifer Eberhardt, who studies race and the law, has been named one of the 2014 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The fellowships, given to scholars for their achievement and potential, include a $625,000 stipend over five years. The honors rank among the most prestigious prizes in academia and the creative arts. They are sometimes referred to as the "genius" awards.

"I feel it gives me the space to pursue my research with new energy and motivation," Eberhardt said. "It reaffirms how important the issues of race and inequality are in the legal system."

When the foundation initially contacted her to inform her that she was named a fellow, Eberhardt was overwhelmed. "I had no inkling, no idea they were considering me. It felt like a pivotal moment in my life."

When the awards were publicly announced Tuesday night, Eberhardt received numerous calls and emails from colleagues, friends and family. "I think I had only a couple hours of sleep," she chuckled. Thursday promised to be even busier – in addition to the MacArthur media inquiries, she was due to give two different presentations on racial disparities to the U.S. Department of Justice.

"But I feel good and have the energy," Eberhardt said. "I'll keep doing what I'm doing."

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