Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Last modified: Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Outstanding Junior Faculty Award recipients announced for 2011

Feb. 8, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Recipients of the Indiana University Outstanding Junior Faculty Award this year are Joshua Brown (Psychological and Brain Sciences), Michael Foster (Folklore and Ethnomusicology), Ilana Gershon (Communication and Culture), Amit Hagar (History and Philosophy of Science) and Eden Medina (Informatics and Computing).

Each faculty member has received a total of $14,500 from the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. This annual award enables faculty to enhance their research and recognizes junior faculty members who have devoted considerable time to IU's teaching, research and service missions.

"The breadth of these faculty members is astonishing, from the neuroscience of behavior to the history of technology to the meanings of new media and more," said Sarita Soni, vice provost for research at IU Bloomington. "Their accomplishments, even as they manage the heavy demands of their developing careers, are truly remarkable."

"The university faces challenges in retaining the very best of its young faculty members," said Tom Gieryn, vice provost for faculty and academic affairs. "These awards recognize our exceptionally talented assistant professors and provide resources enabling them to continue their excellent research and scholarship in Bloomington."

Joshua Brown

Brown joined the IU Department of Psychology and Brain Sciences in 2006 as an assistant professor, and also has affiliations with the neuroscience and cognitive science programs. He directs the IU Cognitive Control Lab and is part of the Imaging Research Facility (IRF) at IU. He completed his Ph.D. in Cognitive and Neural Systems at Boston University in 2000, held postdoctoral fellow positions at Vanderbilt University in 2001 and then at Washington University in St. Louis from 2001-2005.

His interests are wide-ranging but focus on research related to the frontal lobes. How do people and animals learn, optimize, and control goal-directed behavior in complex and changing environments? These abilities entail reinforcement learning, planning, prediction, expectation, evaluation, and sequential ordering of movements, in addition to complex sensory processing. Brown has used a variety of methodologies, including single-unit neurophysiology in awake behaving primates, studies of behavior and individual differences, functional neuroimaging, and computational neural modeling to provide unified accounts of cognitive control functions in the brain.

His current research focus is on the neural mechanisms of how people predict the consequences of their actions and avoid mistakes -- and how these mechanisms are impaired in drug addiction. He uses a combination of neuroimaging, computational neural modeling, and genetic analysis. Brown publishes extensively and has given a number of invited lectures nationally and internationally. For more information on Brown, visit

Michael Foster

Michael Foster

Michael Foster

Print-Quality Photo

Foster joined IU in 2008 as an assistant professor in the Department of Folklore and Ethnomusicology and Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. In 2009, he also became an adjunct professor for the Department of Anthropology and the Cultural Studies Program. From 2006-08 he was a Japan Studies Postdoctoral Fellow at the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University. Previously, from 2003-07 he was an assistant professor of Japanese and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Riverside.

He completed his Ph.D. in 2003 through the Department of Asian Languages (Japanese) at Stanford University after completing work as a graduate researcher at Kanagawa University in Yokohama, Japan from 1999-2001. Foster's research interests include Japanese folklore, literature, and film; monster and supernatural studies; legend; folklore and popular culture; ritual and festival; tourism; and Asian folklore.

His awards and distinctions include the 2009 Chicago Folklore Prize for best book-length work of folklore scholarship (sponsored by the American Folklore Society and the University of Chicago); 2009 IU College Arts & Humanities Institute (CAHI) Travel Research Grant for the project "Festival, Fear, and Tourism: Producing and Consuming Heritage in Japan"; 2009 travel award from the Northeast Asia Council of the Association for Asian Studies; 2001-02 Stanford Humanities Center, Geballe Dissertation Fellowship; 1999-2001 Fulbright Fellowship (Graduate Research Fellow); and the1995-96 Blakemore Foundation Fellowship.

His publications include Pandemonium and Parade: Japanese Monsters and the Culture of Ykai, (2009) and "Haunted Travelogue: Hometowns, Ghost Towns, and Memories of War" Mechademia 4: War/Time, (2009). Foster is currently working on a new book titled Visiting Strangers: Gods, Ethnographers, and Tourists in Japan; articles based on his most recent research are forthcoming from the Journal of Folklore Research and the Journal of American Folklore. For more information on Foster, visit

Ilana Gershon

Gershon joined the IU Department of Communication and Culture in 2005 after completing her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at the University of Chicago. A scholar with broad interests, she has published a wide range of articles about multiculturalism, science studies, neoliberalism, and new media.

Most recently she has published The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting Over New Media, in which she analyzes how people use new media to end relationships, exploring how ethical norms are still in the process of being developed around new media. For example, is a break up by text message so inappropriate that one refuses to communicate further, or is the message the technological equivalent of the face-to-face utterance — "we have to talk"?

She has received the IU Trustee's Teaching Award and the International Studies teaching award. She has also been the NZ Society Fellow in New Zealand Studies, as well as helping to organize IU's first Mellon Foundation's Sawyer seminar. For more information on Gershon, visit

Amit Hagar

Hagar joined the IU Department of History and Philosophy of Science as an assistant professor in 2006, as well as an adjunct appointment in the Department of Philosophy and the Cognitive Science Program. Previously he was an assistant professor in philosophy at the University of Delaware. After completing his Ph.D. in 2004 at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, he was a research fellow in philosophy, probability and modeling group of the Humboldt Foundation in the Centre for Junior Research Fellows at the University of Konstanz in Germany.

Hagar is a philosopher of physics interested in the foundations of modern physics, especially in the notion of objective chance, the philosophy of time, the notion of physical computation, and the foundations of quantum information theory. He is the author of Time and Chance (2004) and The Complexity of Noise: A Philosophical Outlook on Quantum Error Correction (2010), and a recipient of two National Science Foundation scholar's awards.

He is currently engaged in writing a monograph on the history and the philosophy of the notion of fundamental length in modern physics. For more information on Hagar, visit

Eden Medina

Medina joined IU in 2005 as an assistant professor in the School of Informatics and Computing, as well as an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of History. She received her Ph.D. in 2005 from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the History and Social Study of Science and Technology. She also holds a degree in Electrical Engineering and a Certificate in Women's Studies from Princeton University.

Medina's research uses technology as a means to understand historical processes; she combines the history of technology, Latin American history, and science and technology studies in her writings. Her forthcoming book Cybernetic Revolutionaries: Technology and Politics in Allende's Chile tells the history of the Chilean Cybersyn Project, an early computer network designed to regulate Chile's economic transition to socialism during the government of Salvador Allende. She uses the Cybersyn history to illustrate how political innovation can spur technological innovation and how human attempts to combine the political and the technological with the goal of creating a more just society can open new technological, intellectual and political possibilities.

Medina has received grants and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council and the American Council for Learned Societies, the National Science Foundation, the Charles Babbage Institute, and the Dibner Institute for the History of Science and Technology. In 2007 she received the IEEE Life Members' Prize in Electrical History. She is also the recipient of a 2007-2008 Scholar's Award from the National Science Foundation and a 2009-2011 John E. Sawyer Seminar Grant from the Mellon Foundation. For more information on Medina, see

Outstanding Junior Faculty Award Information

Monetary support is provided through the combination of three different grants totaling approximately $14,500: a Summer Faculty Fellowship of up to $8,000; a Faculty Grant-in-Aid of Research in the amount of $2,500 for the academic year; and a $4,000 grant-in-aid or released-time award.

The awards are designed to assist untenured, tenure-track faculty to enhance their research programs prior to tenure. Awards will be given to junior faculty members who show promise of achieving great distinction as scholars or artists.

Candidates should have been at Indiana University for at least one academic year and demonstrate commitment to all three areas of teaching, research, and service, and show evidence of this in the materials submitted.

For more information on the award, see or e-mail