MacArthur Foundation Announces 2021 Recipients of $625K ‘Genius’ Grants

In Summary

The MacArthur Foundation has announced 25 recipients across multiple backgrounds, including STEM and the arts, who will receive a large grant to further their career. 

The MacArthur Foundation has announced their 2021 fellows whose extraordinary talent and creative processes have earned them a $625,000 no-strings-attached award to further invest in their potential. 

While the foundation may not agree with the term “geniuses,” NPR reported when we’re talking about people who are researching pediatric brain cancer treatments, advocating for voting rights for incarcerated citizens or creating mind-blowing documentaries, the term fits just as well as any other. 

RELATED: Black Lives Matter network establishes $12M grant fund 

“As we emerge from the shadows of the past two years, this class of 25 Fellows helps us reimagine what’s possible. They demonstrate that creativity has no boundaries,” managing director Cecilia Conrad said in a statement. “Once again, we have the opportunity for exultation as we recognize the potential to create objects of beauty and awe, advance our understanding of society, and foment change to improve the human condition.” 

Fellows are chosen based on exceptional imagination, past record of great achievement and hope for significant future advancements and lastly, potential to facilitate subsequent creative work. 

Writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, and others in related fields with or without institutional affiliations, are able to use their fellowship funds to expand their knowledge, take on risky new projects, or change areas or occupations if they so desire, per MacArthur. 

Michelle Monje, a neuroscientist and neuro-oncologist, is on this year’s list of honorees for her work in improving our understanding of juvenile brain malignancies and the neurological impacts of cancer treatments with the goal of bettering patient care. Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, a choreographer and dance entrepreneur located in Florida, uses the power of dance and artistic expression to highlight Black women’s voices and promote political engagement and community organizing. Nicole Fleetwood, an art historian and curator whose museum exhibition “Marking Time” collected artwork created by incarcerated prisoners, is also on the list. 

RELATED: NASA Grants Millions for Engineering, STEM Efforts at Minority-Serving Colleges 

For a full list of MacArthur Fellows and to hear a bit more about their background, visit the foundation’s website.

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