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Cecilia A. Conrad

Foundation executive and academic administrator Cecilia Conrad was born on January 4, 1955 in St. Louis, Missouri to Dr. Emmett James Conrad and Eleanor Nelson Conrad. She moved with her family to Dallas, Texas after her father was hired at St. Paul’s Hospital. Conrad went on to receive her B.A. degree in economics from Wellesley College in 1976 and her Ph.D. degree in economics from Stanford University in 1982.

Conrad began her career in academia in 1981 when she was hired as an assistant professor of economics at Duke University. From there, she taught at Barnard College and then Pomona College as a Stedman-Sumner professor of economics. In 2002, Conrad was named California’s Carnegie Professor of the Year. Two years later, she became associate dean of Pomona College. During her time as a college administrator, Conrad continued to publish on the issue of race and gender on economic status. After taking a two year hiatus to serve as interim vice president and dean of the faculty at Scripps College, Conrad returned to Pomona College as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college. In 2013, Conrad left Pomona to join the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation as the vice president of the MacArthur Fellows Program. After two years at the foundation, Conrad became the managing director of both the MacArthur Fellows Program and 100&Change. In 2019, Conrad became chief executive officer of Lever for Change, an affiliate of the MacArthur Foundation focused on high impact philanthropic opportunities.

Conrad served as editor of The Review of Black Political Economy and an associate editor of Feminist Economics. She has published articles on economics, liberal arts education, and philanthropy in peer-reviewed journals and popular media. While working at Pomona College, Conrad also directed the American Economic Association’s “Pipeline Mentoring Program,” matching students enrolled in a Ph.D. program in economics with mentors in the field. In 2007, Conrad became the president of the International Association for Feminist Economics. She is on the board of trustees at Muhlenberg College, Bryn Mawr College, the Poetry Foundation, and the National Academy of Social Insurance.

Conrad has received numerous awards for her work. Her co-edited collection of essays, African Americans in the US Economy, was named a CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of 2005. Three years later, she received the National Urban League’s 2008 Woman of Power Award. She has also received honorary doctorates from Claremont Graduate University and the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

Conrad and her husband, Llewellyn Miller, have one child: Conrad Miller.

Cecilia Conrad was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on July 12, 2019.

Accession Number

A2019.049

Sex

Female

Interview Date

7/12/2019

Last Name

Conrad

Maker Category
Marital Status

Married

Middle Name

Ann

Schools

Wellesley College

Stanford Graduate School of Business

First Name

Cecilia

Birth City, State, Country

St. Louis

HM ID

CON08

Favorite Season

Summer

State

Missouri

Favorite Vacation Destination

Paris

Favorite Quote

None

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

Illinois

Birth Date

1/4/1955

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Chicago

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fried Chicken

Short Description

Foundation executive and academic administrator Cecilia Conrad (1955 - ) served as managing director of the MacArthur Fellows Program and 100&Change before becoming chief executive officer of Lever for Change.

Employment

Pomona College

Scripps College

American Economic Association

Barnard College, Columbia University

Duke University

The Review of Black Political Economy

Feminist Economics

MacArthur Foundation

Favorite Color

Red

Fern Hunt

Mathematician Fern Y. Hunt was born in 1948 in New York City to Daphne Lindsay and Thomas Edward Hunt. Her mother was a transcribing typist who attended Hunter College for two years, and her father worked as a mail handler. Hunt’s grandparents immigrated to the United States from Jamaica prior to World War I. At age nine, Hunt received a chemistry set for Christmas, sparking an early interest in science. Hunt’s ninth grade science teacher, Charles Wilson, further fostered her interest in science by introducing her to the Saturday Science Program at Columbia University and encouraging her to apply to the Bronx High School of Science. After graduating from high school, Hunt attended Bryn Mawr College at the encouragement of her mother, where she earned her A.B. degree in mathematics in 1969. Hunt then entered New York University's Courant Institute of Mathematics where she earned her M.S. degree and later her Ph.D. degree in mathematics in 1978.

Hunt started work in academia, first at the University of Utah. She later accepted a position with Howard University's Mathematics Department as an associate professor in 1978. From 1981 to 1982, Hunt worked in the mathematical biology laboratory at the National Institute of Health (NIH). From 1988 to 1991, Hunt also served as a member of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE) Mathematical Advisory Board with the Education Testing Service. In 1993, Hunt decided to leave Howard University to start her career with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the computing and applied mathematics laboratory.

Hunt’s research interests are focused on applied probability and dynamical systems, which are mathematical models that describe different kinds of movement. In addition to mathematical modeling, Hunt has also conducted research in biomathematics to look at genetic variation and patterns in bacteria. Throughout her career, Hunt has written several scientific articles. In addition to her work at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Hunt is active in the scientific and local communities. She is involved with several professional mathematical societies and has served as a consultant for organizations like the National Bureau of Standards and the U.S. Department of Energy. In 2000, Hunt was honored with the prestigious Arthur S. Flemming Award for Outstanding Federal Service for her contributions to mathematical biology, computational geometry, nonlinear dynamics, and more. Fern Hunt works in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Fern Y. Hunt was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on September 14, 2012.

Accession Number

A2012.223

Sex

Female

Archival Photo 1
Interview Date

9/14/2012

Last Name

Hunt

Maker Category
Occupation
Schools

New York University

Bryn Mawr College

Bronx High School of Science

P.S. 141

P.S. 191 Amsterdam School

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Fern

Birth City, State, Country

New York

HM ID

HUN08

Favorite Season

Spring

State

New York

Favorite Vacation Destination

Beaches

Favorite Quote

When You Lose The Battle, Try To Win The Lesson.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Interview Description
Birth Date

1/14/1948

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

USA

Favorite Food

Fish, Chowder, Turkey Stuffing

Short Description

Mathematician Fern Hunt (1948 - ) served as an associate mathematics professor at Howard University and is a top research mathematician at the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Employment

University of Utah

Howard University

National Institute of Health (NIH)

National Bureau of Standards (NBS)

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Enhancement of Diversity in Graduate Education (EDGE) Program

Favorite Color

Blue

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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating Fern Hunt's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Fern Hunt lists her favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Fern Hunt describes her mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Fern Hunt talks about her mother's growing up

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Fern Hunt talks about her mother's interest in music

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Fern Hunt describes her father's family background

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Fern Hunt talks about her paternal grandparents

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Fern Hunt talks about her father's experience serving in the U.S. Army

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Fern Hunt describes how her parents met

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Fern Hunt describes her parents' personalities and who she takes after

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Fern Hunt talks about her sister

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Fern Hunt describes her earliest childhood memory

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Fern Hunt talks about how the war affected her parent's relationship

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Fern Hunt describes the sights, sounds and smells of her growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Fern Hunt talks about Thelonious Monk

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Fern Hunt talks about her experience being bullied as a child

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Fern Hunt describes her elementary school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Fern Hunt talks about her junior high school experience

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Fern Hunt describes her experience in the science club

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Fern Hunt talks about her growing up

Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Fern Hunt talks about her family's involvement in the church and the Civil Rights Movement

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Fern Hunt talks about her decision to attend the Bronx High School of Science

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Fern Hunt talks about her high school experience

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Fern Hunt talks about her mathematical interests

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Fern Hunt talks about the assassination of President John F. Kennedy

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Fern Hunt talks about the religious atmosphere at the Bronx High School of Science

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Fern Hunt talks about Malcolm X and the Nation of Islam

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Fern Hunt talks about her extracurricular activities during high school

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Fern Hunt talks about The World's Fair of 1964

Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Fern Hunt talks about her interests in television, movies and music

Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Fern Hunt talks about her decision to attend Bryn Mawr College

Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Fern Hunt talks about Bryn Mawr College

Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Fern Hunt talks about her studies at Bryn Mawr College

Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Fern Hunt talks about the cultural and political environment at Bryn Mawr College

Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Fern Hunt talks about her extracurricular activities at Bryn Mawr College

Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Fern Hunt talks about her post-collegiate plans

Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Fern Hunt talks about her studies at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University

Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Fern Hunt describes her dissertation on genetic and special variation in animals

Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Fern Hunt talks about her research and its applications

Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Fern Hunt talks about her use of voles in her research

Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Fern Hunt talks about her work with computer graphics rendering

Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Fern Hunt talks about the Arthur Fleming Medal

Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Fern Hunt talks about her experience teaching at the University of Utah

Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Fern Hunt talks about her experience teaching at Howard University

DASession

1$1

DATape

6$6

DAStory

3$4

DATitle
Fern Hunt talks about her research and its applications
Fern Hunt talks about her use of voles in her research
Transcript
Okay. So. So, your research would be extremely useful for a biologist, I would suspect?$$Yeah. In other words, in helping them with hypotheses in terms of, again, trying to quantify, "Well, I know animals move around. I know they reproduce at a certain rate. In other words, what would I need to see--can I infer how fast they've been moving around from the variation that I actually see," you know. "I don't see any variation here. Does that mean that animals are moving around too fast?" And that could make a difference in terms of--also in terms of pollution. If you have certain species that, for example, are desirable but, in fact, are moving away, you know, you would like them--to have in your region, but they're moving into some region where you don't want them to, and can you--can you, in fact, infer how fast that's happening, and can you do something to slow it down.$$Okay.$$That might be something you would want to do. I later got very, very interested in the idea that, evolution doesn't always lead to improvement. There's a notion of fitness that Darwin talked about. But in the spatial situation, fitness is not just a reproductive thing. It's also defined by how fast you're moving around, and later on, the size of your habitat. That also defines fitness. So fitness can be defined in terms of these factors, and the idea is to write that down quantitatively so that one has a quantitative measure of fitness.$$Okay. So that allows us to predict what would happen if--$$Yeah. Exactly. "What if" kinds of questions.$$--and understand what's going on now.$$Mm-hm.$$Okay. (it'll foil?) I mean, (unclear) (simultaneous).$$Mm-hm. Yeah. Yeah. So, that's essential, yeah.$Okay. So, did you study a specific species in terms of--?$$Well, later on after graduate school, I became quite interested in voles, which I had--I don't think I've ever actually seen one live, but a vole is kind of a little rodent thing, and there were some scientists that thought that their genetic structure, the genetic structure of voles followed their population structure. So it was known that the population's cycle, in other words, they have boom periods where they're zillions of them, and then they're bust, you know, there're hardly any, and then, boom. And so it's a cycle.$$How do you spell that? They're like--. How do you--?$$V-O-L-E.$$Okay. V-O, okay.$$That's the animal, a vole.$$It's a little--it's a rodent or something?$$It's a little rodent. Yeah.$$Okay.$$And it's mainly a prey, and it's a prey species, and it cycles. But what they seem to have discovered is that, there is a--there is a gene, okay. They hypothesized a gene where, in fact, the numbers of animals having that particular gene also cycles. So there're lots of this particular gene at the highs and not so much at the low. And it was quite remarkable. And then the question is, you know, if that is the case, if you knew that you had [Gregor] Mendel's laws, which show the laws of inheritance, and so you had--and then you had perhaps a fitness that would change because the population would change. You know, you've got a lot of other animals, a lot of neighbor animals; it gets really crowded. Maybe you're the gene type that just does not do well in crowds. So maybe you don't reproduce quite as well. So if you look at what kind of fitness would you need--we presume it's dependent on the population size--what kind of population size do you need to produce cycling? And that's something. And that means that you're not evolving towards more fitness in a sort of straightforward way. What you're doing is you've got two incompatible situations that can exist simultaneously because they have divided up the time; otherwise, one would be wiped out totally. But by taking this compromise, you're there some of the time, you're not there some of time. By sharing the situation, you have coexistence. And that's not necessarily, you know, survival of the fittest [Charles Darwin]. Essentially, you know, you have, essentially, a type, a genetic type that is unfit, but that's still in the game; still in the game because the solution has been to partition up the time. So it's not there all the time. It's can't be there all the time.