CHICAGO (AP) — People from a wide range of fields are among this year’s MacArthur fellows, including a legal scholar from the University of Illinois.

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation on Thursday named 25 people, including academics, activists, artists, scholars and scientists, who will receive $625,000 over five years to use as they please.

According to the University of Illinois, Rebecca Sandefur is a professor of sociology and law at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Sandefur is also a faculty fellow with the at the American Bar Foundation. Her research “focuses on inequality, particularly as it relates to law.”


The Chicago-based foundation has awarded the so-called “genius grants” each year since 1981 to help further the pursuits of people who have shown outstanding talent. The 2018 fellows are:

*Matthew Aucoin: Composer, conductor and artist-in-residence, Los Angeles Opera.

*Julie Ault: New York City artist and curator.

*William J. Barber II: Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church, Goldsboro, North Carolina.

*Clifford Brangwynne: Biophysical engineer and associate professor, Princeton University.

*Natalie Diaz: Associate Professor, Department of English, Arizona State University.

*Livia S. Eberlin: Assistant professor Department of Chemistry, University of Texas-Austin.

*Deborah Estrin: Computer scientist and professor, Department of Computer Science, Cornell Tech.

*Amy Finkelstein: Health economist, professor of economics, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

*Gregg Gonsalves: Global health advocate, assistant professor of epidemiology, Yale University.

*Vijay Gupta: First violin, Los Angeles Philharmonic, co-founder and artistic director of Street Symphony.

*Becca Heller: New York lawyer, co-founder of International Refugee Assistance Project.

*Raj Jayadev: Co-founder Silicon Valley De-Bug, San Jose, California.

*Titus Kaphar: Painter, founder and president NXTHVN, New Haven, Connecticut.

*John Keene: Writer, Department of African American and African Studies, Rutgers University.

*Kelly Link: A Northampton, Massachusetts writer.

*Dominique Morisseau: Playwright, Signature Theatre, New York City.

*Okwui Okpokwasili: Choreographer and performer, New York City.

*Kristina Olson: Associate professor, Department of Psychology, University of Washington.

*Lisa Parks: Professor, comparative media studies and writing, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

*Rebecca Sandefur: Legal scholar, Department of Sociology, University of Illinois.

*Allan Sly: Professor, Department of Mathematics, Princeton University.

*Sarah T. Stewart: Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California, Davis.

*Wu Tsang: New York City filmmaker and performance artist.

*Doris Tsao: Neuroscientist and professor of biology, Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology.

*Ken Ward Jr.: Investigative journalist, Charleston Gazette-Mail, West Virginia.

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