Eleven Women Academics Awarded MacArthur Foundation Fellowships

MacArthur Foundation FellowshipsThe Chicago-based MacArthur Foundation has announced the selection of 23 individuals in this year’s class of MacArthur Fellows. The honors, frequently referred to as the “Genius Awards,” include a $625,000 stipend over the next five years which the individuals can use as they see fit. Fellows are chosen for their “extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits.” The goal of the awards is to “encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations” without the burden of having to worry about their financial situation.

Of this year’s 23 MacArthur Fellows, 12 are women. All but one have current ties to the academic world.

MacArthur Foundation Fellowships

Anne Basting, Kellie Jones, Mary Reid Kelley, and Maggie Nelson

Anne Basting is a professor of theatre in the Peck School of Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her TimeSlips project is an improvisational storytelling method in which older adults with cognitive impairment imagine stories and poems in responses to cues from caregivers. Professor Basting is the author of Forget Memory: Creating Better Lives for People With Dementia (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009). Dr. Baskin is a graduate of Colorado College. She earned a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.

Kellie Jones is an associate professor in the department of art history and archaeology at Columbia University in New York City. Before joining the faculty at Columbia, she taught at Yale University from 1999 to 2006. Dr. Jones is the author of Eyeminded: Living and Writing Contemporary Art (Duke University Press, 2011). Dr. Jones is a graduate of Amherst College in Massachusetts. She holds a Ph.D. from Yale University.

Mary Reid Kelley is a visual artist who makes videos exploring women’s history. She is the senior critic at the School of Design at the University of Pennsylvania and a critic in painting at the School of Art at Yale University. Kelley is a graduate of Saint Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota. She earned a master of fine arts degree from Yale University.

Maggie Nelson is the director of the creative writing program and a member of the School of Critical Studies at the California Institute of the Arts in Valencia, California. Professor Nelson is the author of five books, including her latest work The Argonauts (Graywolf Press, 2015). Dr. Nelson is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut. She earned a Ph.D. from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

MacArthur Foundation Fellowships

Diane Newman, Victoria Orphan, Claudia Rankine, and Laura Redniss

Diane Newman is the Gordon M. Binder/Amgen Professor of Biology and Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Her research focuses on the role of bacteria in Earth’s history and how bacteria impacts biomedical processes today. Professor Newman was on the faculty at CalTech from 2000 to 2007 before leaving for three years to teach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She rejoined the CalTech faculty in 2010. Professor Newman is a graduate of Stanford University and holds a Ph.D. from MIT.

Victoria Orphan is the James Irvine Professor of Environmental Science and Geobiology at the California Institute of Technology. Her research is focused on microbial communities in extreme environments such as deep ocean trenches. She joined the faculty at CalTech in 2004. Professor Orphan is also an adjunct instructor at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute. Dr. Orphan holds a bachelor’s degree and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Claudia Rankine is the Frederick Iseman Professor of Poetry in the department of English at Yale University. Earlier, she taught at the University of Southern California, Pomona College and Barnard College. Professor Rankine made literary history when she was the first author to have a work nominated as a finalist in two categories in the 39-year history of the National Book Critics Circle Awards. She won the National Book Critics Circle Award in poetry for her book Citizen: An American Lyric (Graywolf Press, 2014). Professor Rankine is a native of Jamaica and moved to the United States at the age of 7. She is a graduate of Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where she majored in literature. Professor Rankine holds a master of fine arts degree in poetry from Columbia University.

Laura Redniss  is an assistant professor of illustration in the School of Art, Media, and Technology at The New School in New York City. Redniss is an author who combines written text, artwork, and modern design to create unique works of nonfiction. Her latest book is Thunder and Lightening; Weather, Past, Present and Future (Random House, 2015). Redniss is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a master of fine arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York City.

MacArthur Foundation Fellowships

Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Sarah Stillman and Julia Wolfe

Rebecca Richards-Kortum is the Malcolm Gillis University Professor in the department of bioengineering at Rice University in Houston, Texas. Dr. Richards-Kortum focuses on point-of-care medical technologies that can be used to improve patient care in remote rural areas in Africa and Latin America. Professor Richards-Kortum is a graduate of the University of Nebraska, where she majored in physics and mathematics. She holds a master’s degree in physics and a Ph.D. in medical physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Sarah Stillman is a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine. She also serves as the director of the global migration program in the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University in New York City. Earlier, she taught nonfiction writing at Yale University and New York University. Stillman holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Yale University.

Julia Wolfe is an associate professor of music composition in the Steinhardt School at New York University. A composer, she combines elements of folk, rock, and classical music to create innovative works that are often based on historical narratives. Dr. Wolfe is a graduate of the University of Michigan. She earned a master’s degree from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Princeton University.

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