Overcast   40.0F  |  Forecast »
Edit Module

The Genius of Dr. Tiya Miles

University of Michigan professor recently won a MacArthur Fellowship “Genius” Award

(page 1 of 6)

Imagine receiving a telephone call out of the blue, and hearing that you have won $500,000 because a prestigious foundation believes you’re a “genius.”

That’s exactly what happened to Tiya Miles, a University of Michigan professor, wife and mother of three young children.

As Director of U of M’s Department of Afro-American Studies, Dr. Miles is one of 22 recipients of a MacArthur Fellowship

Nicknamed the “Genius Award,” it is paid in quarterly installments over five years to American citizens “who show exceptional creativity in their work and the prospect for still more in the future,” according to The MacArthur Fellowship website.  And the money can be used for anything the winner chooses.

“I was shocked and amazed, transported into some kind of dream space,” says Miles, 42, as sunshine beams into her glass-walled, corner office overlooking the Ann Arbor campus.

Soften-spoken, radiant and wearing a warm brown sweater-slacks ensemble, with a long flow of dreds, Miles says she was home when her husband answered a mysterious phone call for her.  She recalls:

“The representative from the MacArthur Foundation asked, ‘Are you sitting down?’ That’s when my heart started beating. I sat on the stairs and he told me the news. I screamed in the poor man’s ear. I couldn’t believe it!”

Adding to the drama: Miles has no idea who nominated her. The Foundation relies on a network of top-secret nominators who are immune to outside influence. Miles wishes she could thank the person who nominated her.  

“It’s a dream! Especially for someone like myself who is doing work that’s on the margins…of what’s expected in their field. It’s very validating and really incredible.”

Add your comment:
Edit Module
Advertisement
Edit Module

More »New Content

A Detroiter in New York: My Trip to New York Fashion Week

A Detroiter in New York: My Trip to New York Fashion Week

Freelancer Ashleigh Garrison spends a weekend at NYFW.

Everything You Need to Know This Flu Season From The Wellness Plan Medical Centers

Everything You Need to Know This Flu Season From The Wellness Plan Medical Centers

With the flu season in full swing and as intense as it's been in years, BLAC sat down with The Wellness Plan Medical Centers chief medical officer Dr. Tiffany Sanford to discuss the ins and outs.

JOURNi Co-founder Richard Grundy Helps Detroit Youths Find Tech Careers

JOURNi Co-founder Richard Grundy Helps Detroit Youths Find Tech Careers

JOURNi teaches coding and other technological skills to Detroit-area youths.

 Detroit Proper: Raising 'Radiant' Children

Detroit Proper: Raising 'Radiant' Children

Desiree Cooper explores the importance of fostering artistic creativity in our children.