Johns Hopkins announces new cohort of Provost's Postdoctoral Fellows

The program nurtures exceptional scholars in the early stages of their careers, helping build a solid foundation for their academic futures

Four postdoctoral researchers have been selected for the 2023–24 cohort of the Provost's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program, an initiative created to support scholars from underrepresented groups.

Launched in 2015, the PPFP is a flagship component of the Faculty Diversity Initiative 2.0, one of many programs outlined in the Second JHU Roadmap on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. In keeping with the Roadmap's overarching goal of creating pathways to faculty positions for diverse scholars, the program nurtures exceptional postdoctoral scholars in the early stages of their careers, helping build a solid foundation for their academic futures.

"We are very excited about our next cohort of Provost's Postdoctoral Fellows," says Roland Thorpe, associate vice provost for faculty diversity. Their scholarly achievements have positioned them to make great contributions during their time here at Johns Hopkins University. We look forward to their academic success and leadership development."

Fellows receive a one-year salary at the current NIH level of support for postdoctoral fellows, funding for research and professional development, and potential eligibility for a second year of support. The program also provides opportunities in leadership, career counseling, and networking, specifically with other participants in key diversity pathway programs.

Scholars from Johns Hopkins and other institutions who are within three years of completing their doctoral degree or training are invited to apply. While applicants from any field will be considered, priority is granted to candidates working within STEM disciplines, where women and other minority groups are historically underrepresented. Successful candidates come from diverse backgrounds and demonstrate clear potential for success in both the fellowship and future academic appointments.

This year's fellows are:

Amalia Bastos

Image caption: Amalia Bastos

Amalia Bastos, whose research on comparative cognition involves investigating the minds of nonhuman animals and how they perceive the world around them. Through the PPFP, Bastos is studying the foundations of normativity in collaboration with Christopher Krupenye in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences. She will use state-of-the-art eye-tracking technology to determine the extent to which humans and chimpanzees share an understanding of social rules.

Gabrielle Evans

Image caption: Gabrielle Evans

Gabrielle Evans, is working with mentors Allison Barlow, Jennifer Richards, and Chris Kemp in the Department of International Health at the Bloomberg School. Her research uses reproductive justice and historical trauma frameworks to analyze the impact of trauma on the sexual health of Native American adolescents and women. This award will help advance her long-term career goals of becoming an independent researcher and scholar in Native American sexual health, while also continuing to advance the sexual health and well-being of native peoples. She is piloting an intervention plan outlined in her dissertation for developing culturally relevant and inclusive trauma-informed sexual health education programs for native older adolescent and young adult women.

Patrick Jefferson

Image caption: Patrick Jefferson

Patrick Jefferson, who works in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, alongside mentors Ibou Bah and Marc Kamionkowski. Jefferson's research uses string theory as a theoretical laboratory for elucidating properties of quantum gravity that may help tackle outstanding challenges in high-energy physics and cosmology. His recent work has focused on charting the landscape of string theory vacuum solutions containing the Standard Model particles and interactions. The fellowship provides Jefferson with an opportunity to enrich this research program by collaborating with leading experts on modern developments on symmetries in quantum field theory and black hole physics.

Yang Yang

Image caption: Yang Yang

Yang Yang, whose research involves partial differential equations and geometric analysis, with a particular interest in questions concerning regularity and classification of global solutions to geometric variational problems. This award will help advance his current research doing controlled growth of the anisotropic Bernstein problem, trying to achieve a Bernstein-type result for global minimizers of some parametric elliptic functional with growth constraints. He is working with mentors Jacob Bernstein and Yi Wang in the Department of Mathematics.