4 Californians among 2023 MacArthur ‘genius grant’ fellows

On Wednesday, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation announced the 2023 class of fellows, also known as “genius grant” recipients.

The 20 fellows will each receive a $800,000 grant over five years to spend as they see fit, though they were chosen for the exceptional work they’ve already done, their ability to do more, and their ability to leverage and be enabled by the fellowship itself, according to Marlies Carruth, the MacArthur Fellows program’s director.

Nominations for fellows are reviewed by the foundation over a year-long process that includes input from their communities and peers. Fellows do not apply and are never officially notified of their nomination unless they are chosen for the award.

E. Tendayi Achiume, 41, of Los Angeles, is a legal scholar who examines the history of global migration to argue for a reimagining of the rules that govern people’s movement.

Andrea Armstrong, 48, of New Orleans, is a legal scholar who focuses on incarceration and developed a methodology for documenting deaths in prison or jail.

Rina Foygel Barber, 40, of Chicago, is a statistician who has created tools to test the accuracy of machine learning predictions on large and complex datasets.

Ian Bassin, 47, of Washington, is a lawyer and democracy advocate who helped design changes to federal election laws that were eventually passed by Congress.

Courtney Bryan, 41, is a composer and pianist from New Orleans who draws on jazz, classical, and sacred music, as well as recordings of contemporary voices, to create works in a variety of formats that center on African American experiences.

Jason D. Buenrostro, a cellular and molecular biologist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, developed new methods and tools to better understand how and when genes are expressed.

Mara Magdalena Campos-Pons, 64, is a multidisciplinary artist from Cuba who works across mediums to explore motherhood, migration, memory, and the slave trade, as well as teaching and supporting the work of other artists.

Raven Chacon, 45, of Red Hook, New York, is a composer and artist whose performances and visual art explore the histories and legacies of European colonization of the United States.

Diana Greene Foster, 52, of San Francisco, is a demographer and reproductive health researcher who has contributed to a body of research on the impact of having or not having access to contraception and abortion care on women’s lives.

Lucy Hutyra, a 47-year-old environmental ecologist from Boston, has helped cities improve their climate mitigation strategies by studying how, when, and why carbon moves through urban landscapes.

Carolyn Lazard, 36, of Philadelphia, is a video, installation, and performance artist whose work explores disability, health, and medicine, including the use of accessibility practices.

Ada Limón, 47, of Lexington, Kentucky, is a poet whose work frequently draws on the wonders of nature and who has worked to introduce poetry to new audiences.

Lester Mackey, 38, is a computer scientist and statistician whose research has improved the efficiency and predictability of machine learning techniques.

Patrick Makuakne, 62, of San Francisco, is a hula master teacher and cultural preservationist whose choreography and dance have combined hula with contemporary influences while elevating Hawaiian languages and histories.

Linsey Marr, 48, of Blacksburg, Virginia, is an environmental engineer who researches air quality and how viruses spread through the air in order to inform and improve public health advice.

Manuel Muoz, 51, Tucson, Arizona, is a fiction writer whose stories are inspired by the diverse experiences of California’s Mexican American community in the Central Valley.

Imani Perry, 51, of Cambridge, Massachusetts, is an interdisciplinary scholar and writer who has written several books about Black Americans’ resistance and activism in the face of injustice.

Dyani White Hawk, 46, is a multidisciplinary artist from Shakopee, Minnesota, whose paintings, embroidered canvases, photographs, and videos uplift and connect Indigenous art practices and aesthetics with contemporary and modern art.

A. Park Williams, 42, of Los Angeles, is a hydroclimatologist whose research has revealed new insights into how climate change affects wildfires, drought, and forest growth.

Amber Wutich, 45, an anthropologist from Tempe, Arizona, has helped to build a body of research to understand the impact of water scarcity on communities and how those communities cope or respond.

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