The following is excerpted from the letter Dr. Debra Titone wrote in support of Dr. Ristic’s nomination for the CSBBCS Mid-career Award

Although Professor Ristic earned her PhD just sixteen years ago, she has already distinguished herself internationally as an expert in human attention and social cognition and is widely recognized as a pioneer of the social attention field. Her scholarly contributions have transformed how researchers think about human cognition. Her educational approach has yielded an extraordinary number of highly qualified trainees who transitioned to advanced positions in academia, industry, and the government. Her leadership is influential in shaping the future of Canadian education, University governance, and the field of cognitive neuroscience more broadly.

Professor Ristic’s contribution to the advancement of scientific knowledge is outstanding. She has published over 100 journal and conference articles in invited, senior, and first author roles. These contributions appear in eminent outlets such as Nature Reviews Psychology, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception & Performance, Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, Cognition, and Current Directions in Psychological Science. The overarching vision to connect the traditionally ‘cold’ study of human cognition with the traditionally ‘warm’ study of human social behavior is evidenced in Professor Ristic’s sustained and systematic pursuit of the difficult ‘why’ questions regarding the nature and utility of human cognition. Indeed, Professor Ristic’s work is highly innovative in demonstrating that our cognitions are fundamentally shaped by our social experiences. This realization has changed the direction of the field and paved the way for new research paradigms for studying human attention.

Professor Ristic’s training and mentoring record is outstanding; she has mentored over 140 trainees in her laboratory since its inception in 2009. Her students have achieved great success. Over 80% of her publications are co-authored by one or more trainees, with publications often involving multiple undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral trainees. Her success in student training was formally recognized by a Mentorship award from Women in Cognitive Science (WiCS). This training has been supported by over $1 million dollars Professor Ristic has won in operating and equipment funds from national (NSERC and SSHRC) and institutional sources.

Professor Ristic is also leading the field through her active role as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception &Performance and Visual Cognition, and as an external reviewer for the major Canadian granting agencies. She has contributed to conference program and organizations leadership by co-organizing and serving as the program committee chair at the Montreal CSBBCS meeting in 2021. Professor Ristic is a Fellow of the Canadian Society for Brain, Behaviour and Cognitive Science nationally and the Psychonomic Society internationally and has been nominated for the membership in the Royal Society’s College of New Artists, Scientists and Scholars.

Professor Jelena Ristic is a trailblazing woman scientist who keeps setting new norms for the field. Her research is impactful with staying power and creates stellar training opportunities for trainees of different levels. She is a leader and a role model for women scientists in Canada. In short, she is an exceptional choice for the CSBBCS Mid-Career award.