2021 Awardee - Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Michigan State University
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha has been awarded the 2021 James Shea Award by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.
Seldom do you read a book that you know will impact your life and your teaching moving forward. I had spoken in classes and with colleagues about the water crisis in Flint, Michigan, but from the early pages of What the Eyes Don't See by Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, I realized I had only understood a small fraction of the story. Dr. Mona (her preferred name) adeptly weaves together a description of her pediatric research into blood lead levels in Flint children, a narrative of her collaboration with civil engineer Marc Edwards to connect his water quality data with her health data, an account of the environmental racism that Flint residents have experienced over decades, and a personal history of how her Iraqi family and heritage impacted her work. Dr. Mona illustrates the interdisciplinary nature of wicked problems, while also demonstrating the importance of a firm dedication to geo-ethics, including how she persisted in addressing an acute social problem despite harsh backlash, effectively interacted with her mentees and colleagues, and balanced peer-review publishing with a public's need to know critical information quickly. While Dr. Mona is not formally a geoscientist, I was pleased to nominate her for the Shea Award and to write this citation in recognition of her book that highlights a rich array of problems that our discipline should be addressing.