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“In the midst of civil unrest, a global pandemic, natural disasters, and conflagrations, this group of 21 exceptionally creative individuals offers a moment for celebration. They are asking critical questions, developing innovative technologies and public policies, enriching our understanding of the human condition, and producing works of art that provoke and inspire us.”

Cecilia Conrad
Managing Director, MacArthur Fellows

2020 MacArthur Fellows

Isaiah Andrews

Developing robust methods of statistical inference to address key challenges in economics and social science.

Cambridge, MA
Tressie McMillan Cottom
Sociologist, Writer, and Public Scholar

Shaping discourse on highly topical issues at the confluence of race, gender, education, and digital technology for broad audiences.

Chapel Hill, NC
Paul Dauenhauer
Chemical Engineer

Developing new technologies for converting renewable, organic materials into chemicals used in products such as plastics, rubber, and detergents.

Minneapolis, MN
Nels Elde
Evolutionary Geneticist

Investigating the molecular mechanisms and evolutionary processes driving host-pathogen interactions.

Salt Lake City, UT
Damien Fair
Cognitive Neuroscientist

Devising maps of network connectivity in individual brains that advance our understanding of how distinct regions communicate and develop in both typical and atypical contexts.

Minneapolis, MN
Larissa FastHorse

Creating space for Indigenous artists, stories, and experiences in mainstream theater and countering misrepresentation of Native American perspectives in broader society.

Santa Monica, CA
Catherine Coleman Flowers
Environmental Health Advocate

Bringing attention to failing water and waste sanitation infrastructure in rural areas and its role in perpetuating health and socioeconomic disparities.

Montgomery, AL
Mary L. Gray
Anthropologist and Media Scholar

Investigating the ways in which labor, identity, and human rights are transformed by the digital economy.

Cambridge, MA
N. K. Jemisin
Speculative Fiction Writer

Pushing against the conventions of epic fantasy and science fiction genres while exploring deeply human questions about structural racism, environmental crises, and familial relationships.

Brooklyn, NY
Ralph Lemon

Generating interdisciplinary modes of artistic expression for stories, emotions, memories, and identities that traditional media do not accommodate.

New York, NY
Polina V. Lishko
Cellular and Developmental Biologist

Examining the cellular processes that guide mammalian fertilization and opening new avenues for contraception and treatment of infertility.

Berkeley, CA
Thomas Wilson Mitchell
Property Law Scholar

Reforming laws and developing policy solutions addressing mechanisms by which Black and other disadvantaged American families have been deprived of their land, homes, and real estate wealth.

Fort Worth, TX
Natalia Molina
American Historian

Revealing how narratives of racial difference that were constructed and applied to immigrant groups a century ago continue to shape national policy today.

Los Angeles, CA
Fred Moten
Cultural Theorist and Poet

Creating new conceptual spaces to accommodate emerging forms of Black aesthetics, cultural production, and social life.

New York, NY
Cristina Rivera Garza
Fiction Writer

Exploring culturally constructed notions of language, memory, and gender from a transnational perspective.

Houston, TX
Cécile McLorin Salvant
Singer and Composer

Using manifold powers of interpretation to infuse jazz standards and original compositions with a vibrant, global, Black, feminist sensibility.

Brooklyn, NY
Monika Schleier-Smith
Experimental Physicist

Advancing our understanding of how many-particle quantum systems behave and connecting phenomena observed in the laboratory to a range of other areas of physics.

Stanford, CA
Mohammad R. Seyedsayamdost
Biological Chemist

Investigating synthesis of novel molecules with therapeutic properties and expediting discovery of new antibiotics.

Princeton, NJ
Forrest Stuart

Challenging long-held assumptions about the forces that shape urban poverty and violence and bringing to light the lived reality of those who experience it.

Stanford, CA
Nanfu Wang
Documentary Filmmaker

Creating intimate character studies that examine the impact of authoritarian governance, corruption, and lack of accountability on the lives of individuals.

Montclair, NJ
Jacqueline Woodson

Redefining children’s and young adult literature to encompass more complex issues and reflect the lives of Black children, teenagers, and families.

Brooklyn, NY

Note to Media

Members of the media seeking comment or to interview a MacArthur Fellow or staff person should call 312.917.3690 or email Kristen Mack, Managing Director, Communications.

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