I am a senior research scientist in Computational Social Science at the University of Pennsylvania, working with Duncan Watts. Before, I was a postdoctoral research associate at Information Sciences Institute, working with Emilio Ferara. I also contribute as a researcher at the CU CyberSafety Research Center. I received my PhD in Computer Science from the University of Colorado Boulder and worked in Danaher Labs in 2015-2017 as a Data Scientist.
My research interests lie at the interface of computational social science, statistical inference and applied machine learning, wherein I am interested in questions around making sense of human behavior. My work is inherently interdisciplinary and I collaborate closely with sociologists, economists, psychologists, and political scientists. One of the most puzzling questions about socio-technical systems for me has been whether what we observe on platforms such as Instagram or YouTube is more a result of the platform design, e.g., its algorithms, or a reflection of society through the lens of the platform. It is hard to answer which, but it is easy to forget about the role of human behavior when it comes to technology’s disturbing consequences. General themes of my work on the study of digital technologies include carefully considering the whole spectrum from pure user intention to pure platform design, performing cross-platform analysis, and putting observations into context when studying complex systems. To this end, I deploy text analysis and network modeling techniques for reasoning about large-scale data — ranging from records of billions of actions on the web or TV to terabytes of unstructured text from TV, radio, and YouTube — when either there is no ground truth, or there exists only a small noisy set. Over the years, my research has been published in more than 25 peer-reviewed papers—including computer science conferences and top journals such as PNAS, Science Advances, IMWUT, and TKDD— and featured in more than 20 outlets across the globe, including the popular press such as WIRE and THE VERGE.
Working with me
I am looking for motivated grads and undergrads all the time. Please apply here if you are interested in joing the lab as RA.