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Informally known as the “genius grant,” the MacArthur Fellowship is a $625,000, no-strings-attached prize presented to “extraordinarily talented and creative individuals as an investment in their potential,” according to the foundation’s website.

Sociologist, author and public scholar Tressie McMillan Cottom was named a 2020 MacArthur Fellow last month. McMillan Cottom, who joined the UNC School of Information and Library Science this past summer, is also a senior faculty researcher in the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life. Her most recent book, “THICK: and Other Essays,” centers on Black women’s intellectual tradition and was shortlisted for the 2019 National Book Award in nonfiction.

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