Two Brown Alums Receive “Genius Award”

Benoit-Bird '98 illuminated the feeding patterns of marine life

Sebastian Ruth '97 created a musical outreach foundation in urban Providence

The MacArthur Foundation, which gives unrestricted grants to individuals who show creativity and rigor in their ground-breaking research, awarded two Brown alums with the MacArthur Fellowship, better known as the “Genius Award.”  The first recipient, Kelly Benoit-Bird ’98, is a marine biologist who used “acoustic engineering techniques” to illustrate the feeding behavior of several marine organisms, from bottom-of-the-food-chain plankton to the highest predators. Her research has further illuminated the feeding patterns of all marine life. The other recipient, Sebastian Ruth ’97, is a violinist who, after graduating from Brown, created Community MusicWorks, a Providence-based organization that helps bring music education to urban neighborhoods. Ruth’s quartet performs around Providence and open its rehearsals to the public. Ruth has inspired other musicians to create similar organizations in other urban centers around New England. In addition to being Brown alums, both Benoit-Bird and Ruth get the honor of being declared geniuses before they turn 36!