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17945-super-girl-smart-headerIt is casually called the "Genius Grant" because, like the name implies, you kind of have to be a genius to get it. The MacArthur Foundation announced the 2016 list of artists, creatives, scientists and musicians who each get a sweet reward: $625,000.

Twelve of the 23 recipients are women and all of them are pretty amazing human beings.  Just how amazing? You can watch one of the super smart science girls, Rebecca Richards-Kortum, at work in this video by Rice University.

If it doesn't make you tear up, you might not be human.

As you can see, this MacArthur winner’s passion for her work runs deep. Richards-Kortum's scientific efforts have been described as imaginative with her research and execution focused on saving lives, especially the lives of infants and mothers. 

MacArthur Fellows can come from all disciplines, but each has one thing in common: "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction that manifests promise for important future advances,” according to the MacArthur Foundation. 

The 20 recipients were chosen from roughly 2,000 confidential nominations. Since the program began in 1981, there have only been 1,000 fellowships given out to date.

 So how do super-smarties like these spend the $635,000 they receive over the next five years?

Poet Claudia Rankine says she wants to use the prize money to help build an institute where creatives can come together to talk about the subject of race in America, while art historian and curator Kellie Jones says the first thing she is buying is a new desk. 

For some, like artist and writer Laura Redniss, it may be something even more simple, like finding a studio so she can work without having to move her bed out of the way first.

Whoever said that art, writing, social causes and even helping the poor don't pay obviously never met these women (and, okay, there were 11 really great guys on the list too!). So this month our Super Girl is a lot of Super Women—each one smart and changing the world, just like we like them!


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