AAAS fellowships are highly competitive, with more than 800 applicants this year. As a fellow, Carr will relocate to Washington and will serve in an influential role with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance. There, he will coordinate and provide guidance on climate change adaptation policy, focusing on poor and vulnerable populations.
“The fellowship is a remarkable opportunity,” Carr said. “USAID is one of the world’s largest and most influential development organizations. Decisions made at USAID will, over the long term, affect the lives of hundreds of millions of people. The chance to influence policy within USAID is something I cannot pass up.”
Carr joined the university’s faculty in 2003 after having earned his doctorate in geography a year earlier from the University of Kentucky. A prolific young scholar, Carr is recognized as a leading international expert on global development, particularly the intersection of development with global economic and environmental change. His fieldwork has focused on Africa, specifically Ghana and Malawi.
The Guggenheim is the most prestigious fellowship awarded in general academic fields. Walls is one of 180 artists, scholars and scientists to be chosen from a field of more than 3,000 applicants. She plans to use her fellowship year to research collections at the university and libraries around the country and begin writing a biography of Henry David Thoreau that introduces him to a new generation and connects him to the 21st century.
“We really live in a different era now, and we bring different questions to Thoreau and see him in new ways,” Walls said. “He continues to be so important, an icon of American culture and a kind of ambassador of American culture abroad.”
Much of Walls’ scholarly work has looked at the relationship between literature and science. She has written three books, including ones on Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Alexander von Humboldt, a pioneer environmentalist in the 18th and 19th centuries. Her 2009 book, “The Passage to Cosmos: Alexander von Humboldt and the Shaping of America,” earned a Merle Curti Award from the Organization of American Historians. She received a Russell Research Award for the Humanities and Social Sciences from the university last month.