We are so excited and proud of our IDA fellow Natalie Johnson on her VPA Senior Grant. She was awarded funding from a highly competitive pool of close to 30 selected applications to execute an art project in the year after graduation. Natalie will spend the summer writing a speculative fiction novella, extending her creative writing journey at Stanford and engaging with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The world of her novella is also steeped in a pandemic, but unlike the coronavirus, this virus does not spread through contact with infected persons. Rather, it preys on people not living close enough together in large enough communities. Instead of necessitating widespread social distancing, this virus forces people into small, densely populated communes for immunity and survival, reshaping society for some and, for others, reinforcing the way the community has always lived. Natalie spent significant time during undergrad years studying and writing in the genre of speculative fiction. Writing such a novella during this great social upheaval feels urgent and important to her. Please join us in congratulating our brilliant Natalie on her award! We can’t wait to see her innovative novella become a reality!