MacArthur Fellows: 2 African American Scholars Awarded $500,000 for Hard Work and Intellect

Roland Fryer, Economist, Harvard University (Photo Credit: Courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)
It’s not often that we receive a telephone call and the caller tells us that we have been selected to receive an award of $500,000, there are no strings attached and it’s genuine. Well, that’s exactly Roland Fryer and Tiya Miles’ experience as well as 20 of their MacArthur Fellows counterparts.
The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation named 22 new MacArthur Fellows for 2011. Among them are economist Roland Fryer and public historian Tiya Mills. Other individuals who were identified work across a broad spectrum: an architect, a sports medicine researcher, a cellist, a developmental biologist, a radio producer, a neuropathologist, a conservator, a poet, and a technologist. They were selected for their creativity, originality, and potential to make important contributions in the future.
According to Robert Galluci, president of the MacArthur Foundation, “The MacArthur Fellows exemplify how individual creativity and talent can spark new insights and ideas in every imaginable field of human endeavor.”
Roland Fryer, 34, is a Robert M. Beren Professor of Economics at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass. Through his research, he is:
“… illuminating the causes and consequences of economic disparity due to race and inequality in American society. Through innovative empirical and theoretical investigations, Fryer has opened up a range of topics to quantitative analysis, offering new insights on such issues as the cognitive underpinnings of racial discrimination, labor market inequalities, and, in particular, the educational trajectory of minority children. In an examination of the longitudinal trends of testing gaps among elementary schoolchildren, Fryer and a collaborator determined that, after controlling for background characteristics, black and white children enter kindergarten at parity, but their achievement gap widens through higher grade levels; in addition, they found that traditional socioeconomic metrics could not account for this gap.
Roland Fryer received a B.A. (1998) from the University of Texas at Arlington and a Ph.D. (2002) from Pennsylvania State University. He is also founder and director of the Education Innovation Laboratory at Harvard University and a research associate at the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Tiya Miles, associate professor, American Culture, Afroamerican & African Studies, History, Native American Studies, University of Michigan, works in her office and the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan Photo Credit: Courtesy the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation)
Tiya Miles, 41, is a professor in the Department of History professor and chair of the Department of Afro-American and African Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Through her work, she:
“… explores the complex interrelationships between African and Cherokee people living and working in colonial America. In her first book, Ties That Bind: The Story of an Afro-Cherokee Family in Slavery and Freedom (2005), Miles details the life of Cherokee farmer and celebrated warrior Shoe Boots … In prose that is reflective, precise, and insightful, Miles challenges folklore and mythology surrounding early Afro-Indian communities while also illustrating a broader tangle of intricate personal intimacies, sovereign allegiances, and ancestral tensions.”
Tiya Miles received an A.B. (1992) from Harvard University, an M.A. (1995) from Emory University, and a Ph.D. (2000) from the University of Minnesota. She holds additional appointments in the program in American culture, the Native American studies program, and the department of women’s studies. –yvette caslin
Yvette Caslin
Yvette Caslin

I'm a writer, image architect & significance marketer. Love photojournalism, creative expression & originality.



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