Meet the latest Rutgers "genius grant" winners – a public health historian, two alumni and a distinguished guest instructor in the Rutgers-Camden MFA program. The five-year fellowship by the James D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation comes with a $625,000 stipend for use by the recipients without restrictions.
Julie Livingston, professor, Rutgers Department of History
Livingston specializes in African history and in the history of public health. In her most recent book, Improvising Medicine: An African Oncology Ward in an Emerging Cancer Epidemic (Duke University Press, 2012), she describes the struggles of patients, families and hospital staff in a cancer ward in Botswana to come to terms with the disease – and its practical and moral implications – in an environment of limited resources. Her work dramatizes the human stakes and institutional challenges of an epidemic that will shape the future of global health. Read more.
Jeffrey Brenner, graduate of the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, now part of Rutgers
Brenner, founder and executive director of the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, is a primary care physician creating a health care delivery model to meet the medical and social service needs of the most vulnerable citizens in impoverished communities. Determined to improve the lives of the sickest Camden residents, Brenner built a database and geographic mapping of discharge data from all patients at Camden’s hospitals and discovered that very small number of patients consumed a large share of the overall costs of health care and social support. Brenner was an instructor in the RWJMS Department of Family Medicine and Community Health. Read more.
Craig Fennie, Ph.D., Physics and Astronomy, 2006, Master's in Physics, 2003
Fennie, who is on the faculty of Cornell, is a materials scientist combining the tools of theoretical physics with those of solid-state chemistry to discover new materials with desirable electrical, magnetic and optical properties. Also a researcher at the Energy Materials Center at Cornell, Fennie looks at designing compounds with optical properties that could improve, for example, the efficiency by which materials capture solar energy. Read more.
Karen Russell, distinguished guest teacher, Rutgers-Camden Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program
Russell, named one of The New Yorker’s top 20 young writers under age 40, was a finalist for the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for her debut novel, Swamplandia! Setting much of her work in the Everglades of her native Florida, she depicts in lyrical, energetic prose an enchanting and forbidding landscape and delves into subcultures rarely encountered in contemporary American literature. This fall, Russell leads three MFA sessions at Rutgers–Camden, where she shares some of her favorite works of fiction in a series of wide-ranging literary discussions. Read More.