Activist, historian among the 25 recipients of the “engineering grant” | national news

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The selection process for MacArthur scholarships is shrouded in secrecy. Instead of nominations, anonymous groups make nominations and recommendations to the foundation’s board of directors.

COVID-19 was clearly on their minds. This is the work of no less than four recipients, including a computer biologist building tools to track and predict viruses and a medical economist working to better communicate the need for the COVID-19 vaccine to communities wary of medical institutions. .

“As we emerge from the shadows of the past two years, this class of 25 fellows helps us reimagine what is possible,” said Cecilia Conrad, executive director of the foundation’s fellows.

Much of what is happening, from the COVID-19 pandemic to efforts in the United States to change the way elections are held and the way students are taught in school, added a sense of emergency at this year’s awards, some recipients said.

“This award is so timely for me, personally … to remain committed to ensuring that the public has access to the truth, to the real story, even when it is troubling (and) especially when this story can help us. build a better future, ”Monica Muñoz Martinez, historian at the University of Texas, Austin, highlighting efforts in some states to limit the way teachers discuss racism.


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