2022 MacArthur Fellow, Dr. Jennifer Carlson, Named 2023 Joyce Ivy Foundation Leader of the Year


Ann Arbor, MI, January 12, 2023 – The Joyce Ivy Foundation announced today it is naming Dr. Jennifer Carlson as its Leader of the Year.  Dr. Carlson, a 2022 MacArthur Fellow (often called the “genius grant”), is one of the foremost experts on gun culture in the United States. She is an Associate Professor of Sociology and of Government and Public Policy at the University of Arizona and a contributor to leading outlets such as NPR, the New York Times, USA Today, and the Los Angeles Times.

Dr. Jennifer Carlson © John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation- used with permission

Dr. Carlson was selected as Leader of the Year because she embodies a relentless pursuit of her own educational and professional goals, and serves as a powerful example of female empowerment and leadership for young women from the Midwest. She is a proud graduate of the Indiana Academy for Science, Mathematics, and Humanities, a residential high school for gifted and talented students residing in Indiana, who went on to receive a BA, summa cum laude, from Dartmouth College and a PhD from the University of California at Berkeley.

“When high-achieving young women from the Midwest are thinking about their futures, we want them to know their experiences and voices can make a huge impact on the world,” said Valerie J.M. Brader, chair of the board of Joyce Ivy. “Dr. Carlson will be an inspirational example of someone like them who has gained renown across the country for work rooted in her experiences growing up in the Midwest.”  

With her balanced and rigorous approach, Dr. Carlson is a sought-after voice on the nuances of gun culture in the United States. Dr. Carlson investigates the motivations and assumptions that drive gun culture through ethnographic research with gun owners, educators, and sellers; law enforcement; and state licensing bodies, many of which are located in the Midwest. 

“Through the Summer Scholars program, the Joyce Ivy Foundation gives young women perhaps the greatest gift of all: the permission to dream, and to dream big,” said Dr. Jennifer Carlson. “I am so honored to be recognized by a foundation that encourages young women to boldly imagine the kind of impact they want to have with their lives–and that provides them with the tools to pursue those ambitions.”

As the author of numerous journal articles and three impactful books, Policing the Second Amendment: Guns, Law Enforcement, and the Politics of Race (Princeton), Citizen-Protectors: The Everyday Politics of Guns in an Age of Decline (Oxford), and Merchants of the Right: Gun Sellers and the Crisis of American Democracy (Princeton; forthcoming), Dr. Carlson has already made a large impact in sociology and public deliberation alike. Dr. Carlson also chairs the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee in the School of Sociology at the University of Arizona, served on the Editorial Board of the American Journal of Sociology and is active in the American Sociological Association and Law & Society Association. She will be a featured speaker at the inaugural TEDxUArizona event later this month. 

The Joyce Ivy Foundation provides academic scholarships to high-achieving female freshmen, sophomores, and juniors of all backgrounds from the Midwest (many of whom are first in their family to attend college) to participate in summer programs at some of the most selective institutions in the country before they decide where to apply to college. 

Joyce Ivy also provides free advice on how to apply to these institutions. It holds virtual and in person college admissions workshops and symposia, which provide critical information to more than 500 high school students, families, counselors, community-based organization leaders, and educators throughout the Midwest annually. ​​

Dr. Carlson will be honored during the 18th Annual Joyce Ivy Foundation Summer Scholars Gala, which will be held at The Mint at Michigan First Conference Center in Lathrup Village, MI on Saturday, May 20, at 6 pm ET.  Details and sponsorship opportunities are available at www.joyceivyfoundation.org

Past recipients of the Joyce Ivy Foundation Leader of the Year Award include: Lisa Corless, CEO of AF Group (2022); Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens (2021); Chief Justice Bridget Mary McCormack, Michigan Supreme Court (2020); Faye Nelson, Michigan Director of the WK Kellogg Foundation (2019); Dr. Janet Reid, Chief Executive Officer of BRBS World (2018); Jocelyn Benson, Chief Executive Officer of Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE) (2017); Susan L. Blount, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of Prudential (retired) (2016); Valerie J. M. Brader, Executive Director of the Michigan Agency for Energy (2015); Lisa A. Payne, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer of Taubman Centers, Inc. (2014); Lucy Clark Dougherty, Vice President and General Counsel of General Motors North America (2013); Deanna Mulligan, CEO of Guardian Life Insurance Company of America (2012); and Kim Schatzel, Dean of the University of Michigan – Dearborn College of Business (2011).