Professor Shapley received her B.A. from Boston University in 1977 and her Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1981. She was a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut Louis Pasteur de Strasbourg, France, 1981-2. She received a Sloan Foundation Fellowship in 1991. One of her research goals was to promote "greener" chemical synthesis by creating highly selective and active catalysts for the oxidation of organic substrates with molecular oxygen.