2023 Alumni Award Winners

Early Career Award

Brett Jefferson (M.A. Mathematics 2012; Ph.D. PBS 2018)

Brett Jefferson was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland. His grandmother was a community activist for the city and taught him the value of patience, listening, and education. He completed his undergraduate studies in mathematics at Morgan State University in 2009 and a master’s program in mathematics at Indiana University in 2012. That same year, he joined Jim Townsend’s Mathematical Psychology lab in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences where he would go on to write his dissertation on a model of early visual perception utilizing Jim’s now infamous General Recognition Theory and Systems Factorial Technology. While a student at Indiana, Jefferson had many honors, including “Best Presenter” at a shark tank event at the 2015 Mathematical Psychology Meeting and being named a Repperger Researcher at Air Force Research Laboratories. He received an Adam W. Herbert Fellowship (named after IU’s first African American president) and a Herman B. Wells Fellowship (named after IU’s most beloved and iconic president). He was the first in his family to receive a Ph.D. and uses that accomplishment to mentor and motivate other African Americans to pursue their academic goals.

Since graduating in 2018, Jefferson has been a data scientist at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. His technical work currently spans the areas of topological data analysis, human factors modeling, and machine learning. His research interests include discovering hidden patterns in difficult datasets (like that data pertaining to human cognition) and studying robustness properties related to those measures. At PNNL he serves as team lead for the Human Factors and Interactions team that is focused on the human aspects of developing and deploying artificial intelligence and machine learning. Brett also serves on the leadership team for a PNNL program that has overseen 19 research projects related to the mathematics of artificial reasoning systems (MARS). He says that one of the reasons he came to work at PNNL was that he had the freedom to explore multidisciplinary areas of research in a collaborative environment.

Outside of PNNL, Jefferson is on the board of directors for the National Association of Mathematicians and is a member of the Society for Mathematical Psychology. In his spare time, he enjoys playing boardgames and watching Marvel movies with his wife and their 4-month-old.
Early Career Award

Brendan Johns (Ph.D. 2012)
Distinguished Alumni Award

Adrian Matejka (B.A. English and Psychology 1995)

Adrian Matejka grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana and after receiving his undergraduate degree from IU Bloomington in 1995, he returned 18 years later as the Ruth Lilly Professor of Poetry, where he remained until 2022. Matejka is the author of seven books including Mixology (Penguin, 2009), a winner of the 2008 National Poetry Series, The Big Smoke (Penguin, 2013), which was awarded the 2014 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize in poetry. His most recent collection of poems, Somebody Else Sold the World (Penguin, 2021), was a finalist for the UNT 2022 Rilke Prize. His first graphic novel Last On His Feet: Jack Johnson and the Battle of the Century was published in 2023 by Liveright and was selected by the New York Public Library as one of the ten best books of 2023.

Among Matejka’s other honors are the New York/New England Award, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, and fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation, and a Simon Fellowship from United States Artists. He served as Poet Laureate of the state of Indiana in 2018-19. He currently lives in Chicago and is Editor of Poetry magazine.
Distinguished Alumni Award

Cheryl King (Ph.D. 1983)

Cheryl King, Ph.D., is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Director of the Youth Depression and Suicide Prevention Program at the University of Michigan. A clinical psychologist, educator and research mentor, Dr. King has served as Director of Psychology Training and Chief Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry, and she has twice received the Teacher of the Year Award in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. A graduate of the doctoral program in clinical psychology at Indiana University, Dr. King’s research focuses on the development of culturally tailored and evidence-based practices for youth suicide risk screening, assessment, and intervention. She has provided leadership for multiple federally funded research projects, including the Youth-Nominated Support Team Intervention for Suicidal Adolescents, Emergency Department Screen for Teens at Risk for Suicide, 24-Hour Risk for Suicide Attempts in a National Cohort of Adolescents, and Answering the Alarm: A System of Care for Black Youth at Risk for Suicide. Dr. King has provided testimony in the U.S. Senate on youth suicide prevention and served as a member of the National Advisory Mental Health Council (NIMH Council). She is a Past President of the American Association of Suicidology, the Association of Psychologists in Academic Health Centers, and the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology.
Richard C. Atkinson Lifetime Achievement Award

Bonnie Camp (Ph.D. 1954)