Fair   74.0F  |  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

Allan Barnes, legendary Detroit jazz artist, dies at 66

Allan Barnes, legendary Detroit jazz artist, dies at 66

The saxophonist was a founding member of The Blackbyrds and was beloved by Detroit's next generation of artists.

 “Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Hungry” campaign launched for Detroit seniors in need

“Friends Don’t Let Friends Go Hungry” campaign launched for Detroit seniors in need

The Detroit Area Agency on Aging and Meals On Wheels seek the public's help in keeping food-delivery services to seniors going.

Michigan Science Center gets $1.4M donation from Toyota

Michigan Science Center gets $1.4M donation from Toyota

The donation will help to further encourage students to pursue careers in STEM fields.

Flint native creates hilariously awful dating site for black singles

Flint native creates hilariously awful dating site for black singles

The new site, Smoochr, lets you filter a potential match by skin complexion, hair type and hotep tendencies.