Today’s Dame of the Day is Ai-jen Poo (1974-). As a student at Columbia University, she and 100 of her peers occupied the rotunda at the Low Library; this protest led to the creation of the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. In 1996, she began organizing domestic workers, helping them advocate for proper working conditions and better pay. This initiative led her to found and direct the National Domestic Workers Alliance. In addition to the Alliance, Poo’s work also centers around better care for the United States’ aging population and people with disabilities. In 2014, she became a MacArthur Fellow.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Ofelia Zepeda (1952-). As a poet and member of the Tohono O’odham tribe, Zepeda’s work seeks to promote and preserve her native language. In addition to poetry, she documented the language’s structure in her text, A Papago Grammar. She served as the poet laureate of Arizona and, in 1999, became a MacArthur Fellow.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Lateefah Simon (January 29, 1977-). Simon formerly served as the executive director for Center for Young Women’s Development. The center provides programs to young women and girls trying to overcome alcohol and substance abuse issues, histories of prostitution, and childhoods riddled with abuse and poverty. At age 26, Simon received the MacArthur Fellowship for her work, becoming the youngest person to ever receive the award. Following her term as executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, she currently works with Timothy Silard at the Rosenberg Foundation.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Leslie Marmon Silko (March 5, 1948-). Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Silko juggled writing short stories with raising two children. Her stories discuss issues surrounding Laguna Pueblo identity, white cultural imperialism and racism. Silko and her colleagues are widely considered part of the First Wave of the Native American Renaissance, a term coined by literary critic Kenneth Lincoln. In 1981, she became a member of the first class of MacArthur Fellowship recipients.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Shahzia Sikander (1969-). Early in her art career, Sikander studied the tradition of Persian and Mughal miniature painting. Her incredibly complex, multi-faceted paintings addresses issues of economics, imperialism, colonialism and identity. Since her college days, Sikander has evolved her style to include digital animation and performance art. In 2006, Sikander became a MacArthur Fellow.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Uta Barth (1958-). Barth left her native Germany to attend college in California and never left. As a photographer, her work explores the gap between reality and how the camera records it. In 2012, Barth won a MacArthur Fellowship.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Daniela L. Rus. Currently, Rus heads the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. Rus’s research explores how robotic systems can collaborate to achieve a common goal. At MIT, Rus developed self-reconfiguring robots that can mimic human behavior. In 2002, she became a MacArthur Fellow.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Ana Maria Rey (1976-). After earning her Ph.D at the University of Maryland, Rey completed a post-doctorate fellowship at Harvard and then began teaching at the University of Colorado-Boulder. Rey’s research studies ultra-cold atoms; during the process, the temperature of atoms drops to absolute zero, allowing them to reach a new state of matter. She and her colleagues used this process to create the most accurate atomic clock today. In 2013, Rey became a MacArthur Fellow.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Margaret Murnane (1959-). Her father, a primary school teacher, exposed her to the world of physics, but her interest in the subject took off when she reached college. She left Ireland for the University of California at Berkeley to complete her Ph.D in the field. Through her research, Murnane build the world’s fastest laser, capable of flashing at ten quadrillions of a second, that allows scientists to record atoms’ movements within chemical reactions. In 2000, she won a MacArthur Fellowship.
Today’s Dame of the Day is Maria Mavroudi (1967-). This Greek history professor relocated to Berkeley, California, where she researches the influence of Medieval Byzantine and Islamic tradition over time. In 2004, she received a MacArthur Fellowship.