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Angela Duckworth on Grit: Passion and Perseverance


Angela Duckworth
Angela Duckworth

Author and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Angela Duckworth will deliver the Morris Lecture on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 7:30 p.m., in the Chapel. The lecture, based on her best-selling book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, will explore who succeeds in life and what lessons we can learn from them. Presented by the Psychology Department, the lecture is free and open to the public.

Duckworth is the Christopher H. Browne Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania. She studies grit -- the tendency to pursue long-term goals with perseverance and passion. Duckworth shows how grit and talent are entirely different, and she explains why grit predicts achievement in challenging situations, including the National Spelling Bee, West Point Military Academy, urban teaching and sales.

A 2013 MacArthur “Genius” Fellow, she has advised the White House, the World Bank, NBA and NFL teams, and Fortune 500 CEOs. Currently, she serves as a faculty director for Wharton People Analytics, an initiative that helps organizations adopt the latest insights from social science research.

She is also the founder and scientific director of the Character Lab, a nonprofit whose mission is to advance the science and practice of character development.

Prior to her research career, Duckworth founded a summer school for low-income children that was profiled as a Harvard Kennedy School case study and, in 2012, celebrated its 20th anniversary. She has also been a McKinsey management consultant and a math and science teacher in the public schools of New York City, San Francisco and Philadelphia.

Duckworth earned her undergraduate degree in advanced studies neurobiology at Harvard. With the support of a Marshall Scholarship, she completed an MSc with Distinction in neuroscience from Oxford University. She earned her Ph.D. in psychology as a National Science Foundation Graduate Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

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