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5 named Outstanding Junior Faculty

By IU Bloomington Today

February 28, 2022

Assistant professors in the fields of history, optometry, political science, epidemiology, and public and environmental affairs will receive the 2022 Indiana University Bloomington Outstanding Junior Faculty Award.

The award identifies promising tenure-track faculty who have not yet been awarded tenure and provides resources to further develop their research programs or creative activity. It is sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs and the Office of the Vice Provost for Research. Recipients are:

  • Liza Black, Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Cathy Cheng, School of Optometry.
  • Ore Koren, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences.
  • Molly Rosenberg, School of Public Health-Bloomington.
  • Jennifer Silva, Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs.

Each will receive a $15,000 grant to support future research. A reception will be held in their honor at a later date.

“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.”

Liza Black Liza Black

Black earned a Ph.D. in history from University of Washington and joined IU Bloomington in 2019 as assistant professor in the Department of History. A citizen of Cherokee Nation, Black is an expert in the way Native people have been represented in American film, culminating in a book, “Picturing Indians” (2020, University of Nebraska Press), an article in Perspectives on History, blogs and talks.

Questions Black has explored with originality and outstanding archival work include the economic reasons American Indians acted in these films despite Hollywood’s efforts to simplify and demean their on-screen characters; reasons filmmakers chose to ignore the wealth of authentic experience their Native cast offered; and the resulting impact of a caricaturized “Indian” on generations of film audiences.

Black’s impact on labor, film, social and cultural history has already been felt both internationally and in the classroom, where she is a 2021 recipient of an IU Trustees Teaching Award. She is currently working on her second book, “How to Get Away with Murder,” a transnational history of the crisis of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Cathy Cheng Cathy Cheng

All humans share a common problem: As we age, the lens inside our eyes loses its ability to change focus from far to near (presbyopia) and may also develop the cloudiness known as cataracts, the leading cause of blindness in the world. Cheng is an interdisciplinary vision scientist and cell biologist who applies biochemical, biomechanical, molecular, biological, and optical imaging and microscopy techniques to understand these common eye pathologies.

Cheng is working to identify the molecular and cellular changes that cause age-related lens pathologies, and also potentially to prevent lens-related blindness with novel therapeutics. A Ph.D. graduate in bioengineering from University of California, Berkeley, and San Francisco, Cheng joined IU Bloomington in 2018 as assistant professor in the School of Optometry. She is a recipient of two of her field’s most prestigious research awards, from the National Foundation for Eye Research in 2019 and the National Eye Institute/National Institutes of Health in 2021. Recipient of an IU Trustees Teaching Award in 2021, Cheng has also led or participated in School of Optometry events to encourage the interest of area schoolchildren in STEM fields and vision science.

Ore Koren Ore Koren

Ore Koren examines the motivations of violent political groups and the intersection of conflict and climate change. He developed an interest in studying political violence at a young age, with the goal of civilian protection from atrocities during civil war. Recently, Koren was featured in The Conversation discussing election violence both before and after the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attacks, and his work has appeared in more than 20 academic and non-academic outlets.

Koren’s research — and interest in reaching a public audience — has helped policymakers understand how diverse events such as food and water access or infectious disease outbreaks relate to the likelihood of political violence and unrest. He leverages advanced quantitative research techniques and makes creative use of diverse data, ranging from high-resolution geospatial data to social media and epidemiological event data sets. His work incorporates aspects of political science, economics, environmental science and geography.

Koren joined the IU Bloomington Department of Political Science in 2018 after earning a Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota, with fellowships at Dartmouth College and the United States Institute of Peace. Koren is a reviewer for more than 40 journals, grants programs and publishers.

Molly Rosenberg Molly Rosenberg

Rosenberg, an assistant professor, joined the School of Public Health - Bloomington’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics in 2016 after a postdoctoral fellowship at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies. She also holds an honorary faculty affiliation at the University of Witwatersrand, South Africa. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Rosenberg is an expert in sexual health among women and adolescents, with research interests in the economic and social interventions that improve population health across the lifespan. She has conducted research in Haiti, Kenya, South Africa and the United States. She is successful at grantsmanship and a prolific collaborator.

Pivoting to COVID-19 during the pandemic, Rosenberg and collaborators produced early research documenting the lockdown’s impact on mental health and sexual relationships. She also served on IU’s COVID-19 surveillance testing team and led an analysis demonstrating that in-person learning was not related to increased COVID-19 infection risk. Reflecting her growing impact on epidemiology, Rosenberg’s research was cited nearly 400 times in 2021 alone.

Jennifer Silva Jennifer Silva

Joining the Paul H. O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs in 2019, Silva is a sociologist who applies ethnographic and other qualitative research methods to questions of political identity and social and economic inequality in America. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

A noteworthy aspect of Silva’s outstanding scholarship is its blend of academic rigor and political reach. Her book “We’re Still Here: Pain and Politics in the Heart of America” (Oxford University Press, 2019) has been translated into Korean and listed by Foreign Affairs in its “Best of Books 2020.” She has been featured in The Washington Post, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Slate, Bloomberg Business and New York Review of Books.

Her expertise on the political psychology of working-class Americans, especially as they transition to adulthood, has been sought by both the left-leaning Brookings Institution and the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. Silva’s current work looks at electronic health records, comparing their data to interviews with economically disadvantaged women and clinician notes to understand how electronic health records may overlook crucial social determinants of health and thus amplify unequal access to health care.