Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Elitists in My Life: My Wife

I am going to start this series at home with my wife. Annalisa Crannell is the oldest daughter of two physicists. Her mother, who passed away last year while I was in Iraq, was a solar physicist as NASA Goddard Space Center. Her father is a recently retired particle physicist from Catholic University. Her parents studied the same subject at vastly different scales.

Annalisa went to Bryn Mawr College to major in Spanish and English, but graduated in three years in math with good enough grades to be accepted as a graduate student at Harvard. She left Harvard after the first year and got a PhD in math from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. After graduation she was hired by Franklin and Marshall College in Lancaster where she is now a full professor and Don of a Bonchek House. F&M has a system that puts a professor’s office in each dorm to bring academic life into the residence halls.

She is liberal in her politics and, though we both attend a theologically conservative Presbyterian Church, her beliefs are best reflected in the Quaker Church. In 1997 when we married Annalisa was a single mom of one daughter. She became the step-mother of my two daughters. In 2000 we adopted Nigel. Now we are in the process of adopting Jacari, who is in the same grade as Nigel.

A leader in her field in math, dynamical systems, she spends many hours on campus beyond the class day with student events and meetings. In her spare time Annalisa served for several years as a hospice volunteer and in 2002 was a live kidney donor, undergoing major surgery to help a woman she did not know.

She makes all this look easy. I just hope some of it rubs off on me.