Three women and two men from the Los Angeles area are among the 23 2016 MacArthur Fellows announced who will each receive $625,000 over the next five years to allow them to pursue their own creative, intellectual and professional inclinations.

The Southland MacArthur Fellows are:

— Ahilan Arulanantham, the director of advocacy and legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California;

— Josh Kun, a professor at USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism;

— Maggie Nelson, a writer who is on the faculty of the California Institute of the Arts’ School of Critical Studies;

— Victoria Orphan, a geobiologist and professor at Caltech; and

— Diane Newman, a microbiologist and professor at Caltech.

The three criteria for selection of fellows are exceptional creativity, promise for important future advances based on a track record of significant accomplishment, and potential for the fellowship to facilitate subsequent creative work, according to Julia Stasch, the president of the MacArthur Foundation, which conducts the fellowship program.

The recipients may use their fellowship to advance their expertise, engage in new work or change fields or alter the direction of their careers.

The fellowship is considered an investment in a person’s originality, insight, and potential.

Fellows must be either residents or citizens of the United States, and must not hold elective office or advanced positions in government.

“While our communities, our nation, and our world face both historic and emerging challenges, these 23 extraordinary individuals give us ample reason for hope,” Stasch said.

“They are breaking new ground in areas of public concern, in the arts, and in the sciences, often in unexpected ways. Their creativity, dedication, and impact inspire us all.”

—City News Service

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