Junior Faculty Scholar Award recipients for 2019: Hernandez, Magee and Ye

By Susan Meikle, university news and communications

Miami University Junior Faculty Scholar Awards have been presented to assistant professors Daisy Hernández, English; Joshua Magee, psychology; and Zhijian (Justin) Ye, mechanical and manufacturing engineering.

Junior Faculty Scholar Awards honor faculty who have demonstrated great potential in research or artistry and have achieved significant standing in their fields. Candidates for the award must have received their highest degree no more than eight years before the time of nomination.

Daisy Hernández received the Junior Faculty Scholar Award for a faculty member in the humanities and creative arts.

daisy-hernandezHernández has built a distinguished record in her short time at Miami and enjoys a national profile that few faculty at her stage have achieved, her nominators said.

Since the publication of her anthology Colonize This! Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism in 2002, and especially of her award-winning memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed in 2015, Hernández has become known as an innovative thinker and dynamic speaker on issues around feminism, class and race, her nominators said.

She has produced three book-length publications since joining Miami in 2015: In Search of the Kissing Bug: A True Story, forthcoming from Tin House Books in 2020; a Spanish translation of her memoir A Cup of Water Under My Bed in 2018; and a thoroughly updated second edition of her groundbreaking co-edited anthology Colonize This! forthcoming from Seal Press in 2019.

Her newest work, In Search of the Kissing Bug, about Chagas disease, "combines sharp sociopolitical analysis with descriptions of transcontinental encounters with scientists, medical professionals and Chagas sufferers, who include members of Hernández’s own family," her nominators said.

An early excerpt from the book appeared in The Atlantic, and Hernández has been interviewed on MSNBC about the subject.

Her book A Cup of Water Under My Bed won the Independent Publisher Book Award for best coming-of-age memoir, the Bi Writers Association Book Award in nonfiction and the Emerging Writers Award from Lambda Literary, among other awards.

Union College selected the book for its first-year reading program in 2016. 

As a previous columnist for Ms. magazine, an intern at the New York Times and senior writer, managing editor and executive editor at ColorLines magazine, Hernández established her credentials as a journalist and editor.

She has continued this line of work in freelance writing for major mainstream venues including Slate, The Atlantic and The New York Times, and on the NPR shows “All Things Considered” and “Codeswitch.”

“Alongside Hernández’s research and busy speaking schedule, she also manages to be a popular teacher, a devoted mentor and a generous and active colleague,” her nominators said.

“She has already achieved significant standing in the field of creative writing and her ambitions appear to be expanding with her successes. She is an exemplary and inspiring colleague.”

Hernández received her MFA from the University of Miami in 2013, and her MA from New York University in 2001.

Joshua Magee received the Junior Faculty Scholar Award for sustained excellence in business, education and social sciences.

joshua-mageeMagee has quickly established himself as a remarkable junior scholar who is on a trajectory toward being a true leader in the field of clinical psychology, his nominators said.

“His program of research is timely, productive and relevant; it lends great visibility to Miami University which will only grow over time,” nominators said.

Magee’s research focuses on a process called “unwanted thinking.” For a small, but significant, minority of individuals these thoughts are extremely intrusive, distressing and impairing.

Much of Magee’s work has focused on the role of these thoughts in disorders like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and various forms of anxiety disorders. His research has the potential to help a wide swath of those suffering as well as those suffering the greatest, nominators said.

“What is so exciting and invigorating about Magee’s recent work is that he taken these models of unwanted thinking and translated them to other public health domains,” nominators said.

His recent work has focused on understanding unwanted thinking in the context of nicotine craving. Magee is testing the effectiveness of a text-message-based intervention to curb cravings associated with nicotine use. This work is funded by an early career K23 award from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, nominators said.

This research involves the innovative use of technologies to identify, understand and address the unwanted urges that are associated with a variety of behavioral and mental health issues. The project focuses on the use of mobile technologies (text messaging) to provide an accessible, real-time intervention to assist in smoking cessation and relapse prevention.

This is truly groundbreaking work as it relies on translating theoretical (cognitive) models developed in other areas (anxiety) to this new problem, nominators said.

Another project focuses on intrusive thinking among older adults and age-related changes in interpretations of intrusive thoughts. 

Magee’s expertise in this area is nationally recognized, evidenced in part by invited talks and ongoing collaboration with grant-funded projects at other institutions, nominators said.

His research has been supported by more than $1 million in grant funding as the principal or co-investigator.

He has authored 28 publications, some in the top journals in his field. Five in the past four years have been co-authored by other Miami faculty and graduate students.

Magee has mentored 18 past and present undergraduate students in his lab, including those in the FYRE program. He currently serves as primary mentor for three graduate students in the clinical program.

Magee led the initial effort in the department to recruit graduate students who are underrepresented in psychological science. One result is the department's upcoming inaugural Diversifying Psychology Weekend.

“His influence reaches far and wide through his scholarship, his various collaborative relationships, his collegial presence in our department, and the care and concern with which he mentors others,” his nominators said.

Magee joined Miami in 2015 after serving as research assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati College of Medicine from 2012-2015. He received his doctorate from the University of Virginia in 2010 and was a postdoctoral fellow at Brown University from 2010-2012.

Zhijiang (Justin) Ye received the Junior Faculty Scholar Award for a faculty member in applied and natural sciences.

justin-yeYe is an outstanding researcher in the field of tribology (the study of friction and wear) and has demonstrated remarkable productivity since joining Miami in 2016, his nominators said.

He conducted the first-ever atomic-scale experiments and simulations of friction at overlapping speeds, by overcoming computational limitations. These experiments meaningfully expanded friction research, nominators said. “Ye's findings have had a far-reaching and palpable impact.”

Ye is a prodigious researcher, and his findings and innovative methods testify to his sustained pace of high-quality research, an outside nominator said. “These findings, combined with his well-rounded set of laboratory skills and penchant for studying little-explored areas that yield impactful conclusions, confirm that Ye is a distinctive asset to the research community.”

Ye’s research is highly collaborative, as reflected by his grants and publications. He has on-going collaborations with academic and industrial organizations world-wide.

He currently has more than 10 undergraduate and graduate students working in his research group at Miami and he plans to host two international research scholars for collaboration in 2019.

He has published more than 25 peer-reviewed research papers, some in the top journals in his field, including seven since he has been at Miami. Two of his publications were featured as the cover article of the journal issues in which they were published.

Ye is co-Pl on a recently-awarded $450,000 Ohio Department of Higher Education Grant on Robotics Workforce Development. He is also co-Pl on a $50,992 National Science Foundation grant for his research on atomic scale friction.

His early contributions to his field earned Ye the 2013 Young Tribologist Award from the Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE).

He serves on the technical committee of STLE and on the planning committee for the International Annual Workshop on Tribology in the Automotive Industry.

He is an excellent teacher, researcher and mentor to his students, his nominators said. 

Ye received his doctorate from the University of California, Merced, in 2016.