Utahn Dawn Meehan thinks her experience as the adoptive mother of six might just help her on this season of "Survivor."
"I'm really interested in the social dynamics," said Meehan, who makes her "Survivor: South Pacific" debut Wednesday at 7 p.m. on CBS/Ch. 2. "The psychology of it. How do you get people who don't know each other to live together? It just seemed like a really interesting parallel to real life.
"I think 'Survivor" is kind of a lot like my own life. I thought this was something I would do well with - getting along with all different people, because I do it in our family," she said with a laugh.
Meehan, a BYU English professor who lives in South Jordan, and her husband, Dave, are the parents of kids ages 16, 14, 12, 12, 7 and 7. And, like a tribe on "Survivor," her family melds different people with different experiences.
"We don't physically resemble each other. We're not from the same community," Meehan said. "My kids are from different racial backgrounds. So I feel like it's helped me to look at all people and say, 'Hey, what do I have in common with you?' versus 'What do I have that's different from you?'"
Only two of the Meehan children had any connection before they joined the family.
"Just two years ago, we adopted through the foster-care system here in Utah," she said. "They were a sibling group, and they were 10 and 5 when we adopted them.
"So I kind of know what it's like to graft in someone that's from a different community and a different background and say, 'Hey, we can make this work as if we were always together.'"
Whether she can bring that to her tribe on "Survivor" - whether her tribe even listens to her - Meehan is not allowed to say. But, clearly, she tried.
"I think the thing that adoption has taught me is how connected and how similar we all really are," she said. "I think in life we tend to group ourselves with people who are like us, so you're used to being around people that are from the same community. But adoption has really stretched our family in a way that we aren't necessarily all alike, but we do have a commitment to each other."
IN THE CLASSROOM: "Survivor" will give Meehan her 15 minutes of fame, but it might make it a bit harder for her on the job. Like getting her students to talk about something other than the show.
"Yeah, class was rough last night," she said with a laugh. "Lo and behold, I might be a popular teacher now."
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