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Harvard Kennedy School Professor Jennifer Lerner was among the “Sensational 60” honored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) during an event on Wednesday night (Dec. 5) commemorating the 60th anniversary of the Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).
The oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, the GRFP is designed to support and promote the work of high achieving graduate students in NSF sponsored disciplines. Past Fellows have included several Nobel Prize winners, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu, and Sergey Brin, the founder of Google.
The “Sensational 60” honorees were nominated by the GRFP committee as excellent representatives from each decade of the program’s existence.
"Once I finally started to believe that I was not chosen in error, the fellowship helped me gain tremendous intellectual freedom; I did not need to be tied to any particular faculty member’s research," Lerner commented. "It also gave me intellectual confidence. Even when I occasionally doubted whether I could become a scholar, the award reminded me that objective observers predicted I could and would."
Lerner is professor of public policy and management at Harvard Kennedy School. Her research is focused in the emerging field of decision science. Lerner is widely published in both scientific journals and in the mainstream press. Her teaching presently focuses on short-term, executive-level classes for government and military leaders.
Lerner is founder of the Harvard Laboratory for Decision Science. She is affiliated with the Center for Public Leadership and is the director of Leadership Decision Making, HKS’s executive education course on optimizing judgment and choice processes within government and military settings.