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New York University
Summer Institute in Computational Social Science Partner Site

June 18, 2018 - June 30, 2018 | New York University

Sponsored by the Russell Sage Foundation & The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

From Monday, June 18 to Saturday, June 23, 2018, the Summer Institute in Computational Social Science will host a partner location at the Sociology Department at New York University. The purpose of SICCS NYU is to bring together interested graduate students, postdoctoral students and faculty in the New York area. This satellite program is organized by Adaner Usmani, and the teaching assistant is Barum Park.

The instructional program will involve lectures live-streamed from the main site at Duke University, as well as group problem sets, and participant-led research projects. SICSS NYU will also welcome outside speakers from the New York area who are experts in computational social science research. Topics covered include text as data, website scraping, digital field experiments, non-probability sampling, mass collaboration, and ethics. There will be ample opportunities for students to discuss their ideas and research with the organizers, other participants, and visiting speakers. The partner location officially ends on 6/23, but until 6/30 both Adaner and Barum will be available to help students with their research projects. Those who plan to work on projects will also be able to apply to SICSS NYU for some funding.

Participation is restricted to PhD students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty in the area. Lunch and coffee are covered, and there is no registration fee. Participants will be expected to complete some additional readings in advance of the Institute and, if necessary, a set of online learning modules introducing them to the R programming language.

Unfortunately, SICSS NYU has now filled up. We can’t offer any more slots to interested participants.


Adaner Usmani

Adaner Usmani is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Watson Institute at Brown University. He received his PhD in Sociology from NYU. His dissertation examined the rise and fall of labor movements over the 20th and early 21st centuries, and considered the effects of these facts for political change. In other work, he has written about American mass incarceration, with an eye on the racial politics of its origins and reproduction.

Local Speakers

Siwei Cheng

Siwei Cheng is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at New York University. Her research focuses on stratification and mobility, work and family, social networks, and quantitative methodology.

Jennifer Hill

Jennifer Hill is a Professor of Applied Statistics and Data Science at New York University. She is the Co-Director of the Center for Practice and Research at the Inersection of Information, Society and Methodology, and Co-Director of the Masters of Science Program in Applied Statistics for Social Science Research.

Arthur Spirling

Arthur Spirling is an Associate Professor of Politics and Data Science at New York University. He is the Deputy Director and the Director of Graduate Studies at the Center for Data Science, and Chair of the Education and Training Working Group of the Moore-Sloan Data Science Environment. He specializes in political methodology and legislative behavior, with an interest in the application of texts-as-data, Bayesian statistics, item response theory and generalized linear models in political science.

Teaching Assistants

Image of Barum Park

Barum Park

Barum Park is a PhD student in the department of sociology at New York University. His research interests span fields of political sociology, social networks, and social mobility. His current research focuses political polarization and the diffusion of new ideas, formalizing the notion of social space, and detecting class boundaries by conceptualizing occupational mobility patterns as networks carrying flows of workers.


Myeong Lee

Myeong is a Ph.D. candidate studying information science at the University of Maryland at College Park. He is a Junior Fellow at the Center for the Advanced Study of Communities and Information (CASCI), a research network in the iSchool; also, he is a Data Science & Technology Fellow at The Center for Open Data Enterprise, a non-profit that advocates for open data movements.His research interests are in understanding the dynamics of cities, local groups, and local information inequality by making use of computational methods and social theories. He also designs and implements systems that demonstrate geographically-embedded structures of information and associated issues.

Anna Skarpelis

Anna Skarpelis is completing her PhD in Sociology at New York University and will be joining Harvard University as postdoctoral fellow in the Fall. Her dissertation, Making the Master Race, investigates racial anxiety and the consequences of ethnoracial classification practices in multi-ethnic empires (specifically 20th century Germany and Japan). She is also working on a project that leverages computational text analysis to better understand how sociologists use theoretical concepts in their own work. When she isn’t translating obscure Japanese and German texts into English, she likes to read up on political philosophy, the sociology of morality and the philosophy of science. Equipped with a slightly odd sense of humor after years spent in archives researching fascists, she has performed at UCB New York and is writing her first satirical novel on David Thoreau.

Crystal Moore

Crystal A. Moore is a doctoral student at the Stanford Graduate School of Education in the programs on education policy, organizational theory and the sociology of education. She works with Linda Darling-Hammond, Ben Domingue and Mitchell Stevens at Stanford. Crystal has an undergraduate degree in public policy from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and a master’s degree in elementary education from the University of Pennsylvania.

Claire Cullen

Claire Cullen is a PhD student at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government and a consultant at the World Bank Gender Innovation Lab. Her current research in development economics focuses on understanding the role of social norms and networks in women’s economic empowerment and intimate partner violence. She uses a range of methods including randomized control trials, lab-in-the-field experiments and machine learning techniques to better understand gender discrimination and challenges in international development. Claire has a Bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Sydney and a Master’s degree in International Development Policy from Georgetown University.

Andrew Wolf

Andrew Wolf is a PhD Student in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests center around issues of globalization in relation to its impact on labor markets and labor movements. In particular, he studies how labor movements and governments are responding to emerging labor market forms such as the gig economy.

Elliot Stoller

Elliot Stoller is PhD student in Organizational Behavior at Harvard. He researches government bureaucracies and socioeconomic interest groups, focusing on questions about legitimacy, power, and organizational change. He currently studies organizational dynamics involved in the regulatory rule-making process. He holds a BA from Stanford, and previously worked in energy policy for New York State and as research assistant focusing on institutional change.

Fangqi Wen

Fangqi Wen is a PhD candidate of sociology at New York University. In her dissertation, she uses natural experiments and survey experiments to study 1) the social consequences of China’s One-Child Policy, and 2) Americans’ perceptions and misperceptions of intergenerational mobility. Her research has been supported by a doctoral dissertation improvement award from the National Science Foundation and the Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences (TESS) Short Studies.

Jake Carlson

Jake is a PhD candidate in Sociology at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. He is currently a Dissertation Fellow with the Institute for Research on Poverty. He was previously a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Urban Democracy Lab, and a Research Fellow at Participatory Budgeting Project. Jake is an urban and political sociologist, focused on democracy, housing, and changing cities. His dissertation examines the various causes and consequences of gentrification and displacement - and the relationships between the two.

Joanna Pepin

Joanna Pepin is a graduating PhD student in the Department of Sociology at the University of Maryland​​. She will be joining the Population Research Center at the University of Texas - Austin as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the fall. Broadly, she is interested in understanding the ways families reproduce and protect against inequality. Her primary research interests concerns the intersection of couples’ relationship processes and gender inequality linked to cultural norms. Her research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and Time-sharing Experiments for the Social Sciences.

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Hamid Ikram

Hamid Ikram is an Assistant Professor of Education at the Government College University Faisalabad, Pakistan. He has a Doctorate in Education from the United States specializing in Educational Administration, Leadership and Technology. His doctoral research examined the integration of learning media technologies in teaching math and literacy. His research interest includes teachers’ professional development in advanced learning technologies, and education of low-SES communities. He intends to be a developer and practice computational social science. He is a US Exchange Scholar, Microsoft Certified Educator, and also the recipient of 2018 Digital Inclusion Award. He has published his research in peer-reviewed journals, and presented at renowned international conferences such as AERA, ISTE, AACE, CICE, and LICE. He has also won a best research paper award in ICMEI, France.

Image of Danya Lagos

Danya Lagos

Danya is a PhD student in sociology at the University of Chicago. Her research focuses on population-level trends related to transgender health, as well as on survey and computational methodology for demographic research on hard-to-identify populations. She has worked as a research assistant at the Computation Institute’s Knowledge Lab.

Image of Gerard Torrats-Espinosa

Gerard Torrats-Espinosa

Gerard Torrats-Espinosa is a doctoral student in Sociology at New York University and a doctoral fellow at the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy. His research interests include inequality and stratification, crime, urban policy, and quantitative methods.

Martina Balestra

Martina Balestra is a Ph.D. candidate in the department of Technology Management & Innovation at New York University advised by Oded Nov. She is broadly interested in decentralized online platforms and how many diverse, anonymous, non-communicating people can come together to produce complex and high-quality information, artifacts, and communities. Her dissertation work tackles questions related to (1) the emergence and characterization of complex, dynamic user roles in decentralized and networked systems, (2) the structural and motivational determinants of who falls into what role, and (3) how individual, localized patterns of engagement give way to global system behavior.

Venetia Pliastika

Venetia currently is a research assistant in Computational Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University where she works with RNA mainly on cancer biomarkers and tool development. She is interested in learning how Computer Science methods are applied in other areas and specifically how they can facilitate social research. She studied Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

Image of Bhumika Chauhan

Bhumika Chauhan

Bhumika Chauhan is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at New York University. Her research interests include political sociology, inequality, and work. She is currently working on a project on wage inequality and workforce composition in India. She is also working on a collaborative project that concerns the relationship between the rise of programming and the gender wage gap in the US.

Image of Offer Egozy

Offer Egozy

Offer Egozy is a doctoral student in Sociology at New York University. His research has focused on the criminal justice system and, more recently, the contemporary art world.

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Oscar Mendez

Oscar earned his B. A. in economics at Universidad de Monterrey, Mexico on 2008. He then went on to study at the University of California, Davis where he obtained his Ph. D. degree in economics on June 2015. His fields of specialization are Labor Economics, International Trade, and Public Economics. Currently, Oscar is a Program Associate in the Economics program at the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. In August 2018 he will start as Assistant Professor of Economics at Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León in Mexico.

Image of Anahita Davouudi

Anahita Davouudi

Anahita is a researcher at Complex Adaptive Systems Lab. She received her PhD in Computer Science from University of Central Florid (MS in Electrical Engineering (UTA, 2012), MS in Computer Science (NCSU, 2011), and BS in Computer Engineering (Tehran Polytechnic, Iran, 2009)). Her primary research interest are social recommender systems and social data science with focus on user modeling and personalization.

Image of Ned Crowley

Ned Crowley

Ned Crowley is a PhD student at NYU, where he studies political and economic sociology.

Schedule and materials

Monday June 18, 2018 - Introduction and Ethics

  • 9:00-9:30 Intro and Logistics

  • 9:30-12:30 Livestream from Duke

  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch

  • 1:30-3:45 Group exercise case study 1, case study 2

  • 3:45-4:00 Break

  • 4:00-5:30 Guest speaker: Jennifer Hill

Tuesday June 19, 2018 - Collecting Digital Trace Data

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics

  • 9:15 - 12:30 Livestream from Duke

  • 12:30 - 1:30 Lunch

  • 1:30-3:45 Group Exercise (No livestream)

  • 4:00-5:30 Guest Speaker (Livestream from Duke)

Wednesday June 20, 2018 - Automated text analysis

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics

  • 9:15 - 12:30 Livestream from Duke

  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch

  • 1:00-4:00 Group Exercise

  • 4:00-5:30 Guest Lecture by Arthur Spirling

Thursday June 21, 2018 - Surveys

  • 9:00-9:15 Intros

  • 9:15 - 12:30 Livestream from Duke

  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch

  • 1:30-3:45 Group Exercise

  • 4:00-5:30 Guest Lecture by Siwei Cheng

Friday June 22, 2018 - Mass Collaboration

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics

  • 9:15 - 12:30 Livestream from Duke

  • 12:30-1:30 Lunch

  • 1:30-3:45 Fragile Families Challenge

  • 4:00-5:30 Guest Lecture by Annie Franco

Saturday June 23, 2018 - Experiments

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics

  • 9:15 - 12:30 Livestream from Duke

  • 12:30 - 2 Lunch and In-Person Goodbyes