MLTalks: Explaining the MacArthur Fellowship

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MIT Media Lab

For 37 years, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation has awarded the prestigious MacArthur Fellowships–doling out millions of dollars to individuals of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.

But what is a MacArthur Fellowship, and how are people selected? Join Joi Ito and The MacArthur Foundation’s Cecilia Conrad for MLTalks: Explaining the MacArthur Fellowship.

Cecilia Conrad leads the MacArthur Fellows Program, the MacArthur Awards for Creative and Effective Institutions, and 100&Change, the Foundation’s competition for a single $100 million grant to help solve a critical problem of our time.

Before joining the foundation in January 2013, Conrad had a distinguished career as both a professor and an administrator at Pomona College, Claremont, California, where she joined the economics faculty in 1995.

As Associate Dean and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Pomona, a role she held from 2009 to 2012, Conrad championed the college's summer undergraduate research program. As part of this effort, she expanded the program to include the arts and humanities, led conversations regarding the value and assessment of a liberal arts college education, nurtured collaborations between the arts and the sciences, and worked with academic departments to improve the campus climate for diversity. As a member of the faculty, Conrad contributed to the curriculum of several interdisciplinary programs and, in 2002, was recognized as California's Carnegie Professor of the Year.

Conrad's academic research focuses on the effects of race and gender on economic status. Her work has appeared in both academic journals and nonacademic publications including The American Prospect and Black Enterprise. Before joining the faculty at Pomona College, Conrad served on the faculties of Barnard College and Duke University.  She was also an economist at the Federal Trade Commission and a visiting scholar at The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

Dr. Conrad received her BA from Wellesley College and her PhD in economics from Stanford University.

About the MacArthur Fellows Program
The MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached award granted to extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential.

There are three criteria for selection of Fellows:

  1. Exceptional creativity
  2. Promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishments
  3. Potential for the Fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work

The MacArthur Fellows Program is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations. Recipients may be writers, scientists, artists, social scientists, humanists, teachers, entrepreneurs, or those in other fields, with or without institutional affiliations.

Accessibility Note: This event will have open captioning (English) at the event and on the webcast. Archival video will also include English language closed captions.

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