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UNC-CH’s Tressie McMillan Cottom among 21 MacArthur fellows awarded $625K in ‘genius grants’

Writers, sociologists and scientists, a documentary filmmaker, a legal scholar and an environmental health advocate are among the luminaries named as this year’s MacArthur fellows.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Tuesday announced 21 people will each receive $625,000 over five years to use as they please. The Chicago-based foundation has awarded the “genius grants” every year since 1981 to help further the pursuits of people with outstanding talent.

The 2020 fellows are:

Tressie McMillan Cottom, 43, sociologist and writer, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Isaiah Andrews, 34, econometrician, Harvard University.

Paul Dauenhaur, 39, chemical engineer, University of Minnesota.

Nels Elde, 47, evolutionary geneticist, University of Utah.

Damien Fair, 44, cognitive neuroscientist, University of Minnesota.

Larissa FastHorse, 49, playwright, Santa Monica, California.

Catherine Coleman Flowers, 62, environmental health advocate, Center for Rural Enterprise and Environmental Justice.

Mary L. Gray, 51, anthropologist and media scholar, Microsoft Research.

N.K. Jemison, 48, speculative fiction writer, Brooklyn, New York.

Ralph Lemon, 68, artist, Cross Performance Inc., New York, New York.

Polina V. Lishko, 46, cellular and developmental biologist, University of California, Berkeley.

Thomas Wilson Mitchell, 55, property law scholar, Texas A&M University.

Natalia Molina, 49, American historian, University of Southern California.

Fred Moten, 58, poet and cultural theorist, New York University.

Cristina Rivera Garza, 56, fiction writer, University of Houston.

Cecile McLorin Salvant, 31, composer and singer, Brooklyn, New York.

Monika Schleier-Smith, 37, experimental physicist, Stanford University.

Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost, 41, biological chemist, Princeton University.

Forrest Stuart, 38, sociologist, Stanford University.

Nanfu Wang, 34, documentary filmmaker, Montclair, New Jersey.

Jacqueline Woodson, 57, writer, Brooklyn, New York.

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