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Five IU Bloomington assistant professors named Outstanding Junior Faculty

  • Feb. 18, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Assistant professors in astronomy, art history, mathematics, public affairs and sociology have been named as Indiana University Bloomington’s Outstanding Junior Faculty for the 2015-16 academic year.

The award, presented by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research and the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs, celebrates tenure-track faculty working on nationally recognized research or creative programs.

Recipients, all assistant professors, are:

  • Jennifer Brass, School of Public and Environmental Affairs
  • Jessica Calarco, Department of Sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences
  • Margaret Graves, Department of Art History in the Hope School of Fine Arts
  • Noah Snyder, Department of Mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences 
  • Enrico Vesperini, Department of Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences

"I am thrilled that the campus is able to recognize and provide support for the excellent research and scholarship that these award recipients are conducting," said Eliza Pavalko, vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. "Selecting just five Outstanding Junior Faculty from among the many extraordinary nominees was a challenge for the committee, but our awardees stand out for the excellence, originality and impact of their research while also being recognized for excellent teaching and other activities."

"The diversity and scope of research being carried out by these five faculty is truly outstanding," said Rick Van Kooten, vice provost for research. "Each holds great promise for notable contributions to the research enterprise at IU Bloomington. I'm pleased that they are being recognized for their early achievements and look forward to what they will accomplish going forward."

Faculty in all schools and departments on the Bloomington campus who are working toward earning tenure were eligible for nomination. The award provides a $15,000 grant for future research.

Jennifer Brass

Brass joined Indiana University in 2010. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, in political science in 2010. Her research focuses on service provision and governance in developing countries, particularly sub-Saharan Africa.

Her special interest lies in understanding the role of non-governmental organizations in the provision of public services and in state development in countries with low administrative capacity. One subset of her research focuses specifically on the provision of electricity in Africa, examining the prospects for collaboration among governments, NGOs, businesses, donors and communities to increase electricity access.

Brass’ first book, "Allies or Adversaries? NGOs and the State in Africa" will be available from Cambridge University Press later this year. Her most recent honor was an award for Best Comparative Paper presented at the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management in November 2014. She also received an IU SPEA Teaching Award for Excellence in graduate instruction in 2014.

Jessica Calarco

Calarco joined the Department of Sociology as an assistant professor in 2012. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2012. Her research is primarily ethnographic in nature and focuses on issues related to education, social class stratification, family, children and youth, and culture and social interaction.

She is especially interested in understanding how interactions between individuals and institutions vary along social class lines and what consequences those interactions have for the equality of opportunities in those settings. The central goal of her research is to explain social-class-based inequalities.

She has published in prestigious journals, including American Sociological Review, American Educational Research Journal and Social Psychology. She was a recipient of IU’s Trustees Teaching Award in 2014.

Margaret Graves

Graves joined the Department of Art History in 2012. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. Graves is a specialist in the art and architecture of the medieval Islamic world, with special focus on portable artworks in a variety of media and interest in theories of perception, technologies of the object, museology and historiography. She has been awarded major fellowships from the Institute for Advanced Study and the British Academy, as well as others.

She has published two edited volumes as well as two catalogs dedicated to the Aga Khan Collection, one of the most important collections of Islamic art in the world. Her publications also include four invited book chapters and encyclopedia and catalog entries.

This academic year, Graves was honored with membership to the Institute for Advanced Study Princeton, N.J. She is the 2013 recipient of IU’s College of Arts and Sciences’ Trustees Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Noah Snyder

Snyder joined the IU Department of Mathematics in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2009. From 2009 to 2012, he was a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow at Columbia University and a visiting scientist at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics.

Snyder’s research interests focus on quantum groups, tensor categories, low-dimensional topology and subfactors. His work involves several mathematical theories including the theory of subfactors, the Jones theory of planar algebras, the theory of fusion categories and the theory of polynomial knot invariants.

Snyder received the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation for his research on tensor categories and for his long-standing outreach activities

Enrico Vesperini

Vesperini joined the faculty of the Department of Astronomy in 2012. He earned his Ph.D. in physics from Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, Italy, in 1994. He previously served as a research associate professor in the Department of Physics at Drexel University.

He held postdoctoral fellowships at University of Edinburgh, University of Massachusetts and Michigan State University. He was the Science Education postdoctoral fellow for the Five College Astronomy Department from 1999 to 2001.

Vesperini’s research focuses on the formation and dynamical evolution of star clusters, and particularly globular clusters, which are among the most ancient objects in the Milky Way galaxy.

The Outstanding Junior Faculty Awards were established in 1985 by the Dean of the Faculties Office (now the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs) and the Office of Research and Graduate Development (now the Office of the Vice Provost for Research). For more information, email vpfaa@indiana.edu.

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Jennifer Brass

Jennifer Brass

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Jessica Calarco

Jessica Calarco

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Margaret Graves

Margaret Graves

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Enrico Vesperini

Enrico Vesperini

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