I am deeply committed to my students, and value the incredible opportunity I get to be a trusted mentor. Through classroom discussions, field courses, thesis advising, and informal conversations, I enjoy being a resource of encouragement and support to help my students discover and investigate interesting ideas, harness research methods, and navigate career life.
Data Science for Social Research: An Introduction
This course provides an introduction to a rapidly growing and promising area of social scientific research that has accompanied the explosion of data in our digital age, as nearly every aspect of life is now connected (e.g., mobile phones, smart devices, social media) and digitized (book archives, government records, websites). Students are introduced to various techniques and software for collecting, cleaning, and analyzing data at large scales, especially text data (e.g., machine learning, topic modeling, location extraction, semantic networks). Strong emphasis is placed on integrating these methods into actual research, in hopes of moving new or ongoing student papers toward publication. Because of the pragmatic focus of the course, and because these techniques require various degrees of expertise, students are required to meet with the instructor throughout the term to best tailor data science to their particular project.
Mixed-Methods for Social Research: Qualitative, Network Science, and Digital Text
Yale 551: This course provides an introduction to social scientific research. It is open to doctoral and MESc students (others may petition). It will equip researchers with the logical foundations and tangible tools with which to successfully design and carry out a fundable research project. In addition to qualitative approaches, this course includes an introduction to social network analysis, and more recent data and methods accompanying the rise of the Internet. [taught 2014-2016]
The American West as an Environmental, Cultural, and Political Case Study
Yale 764: The social and environmental context of the North American West provides fertile ground to examine important issues pertaining to culture, politics, environmental justice, social movements, and institutional structures. This course equips students to think critically and imaginatively about the social aspects of natural landscapes and the communities who inhabit them. This is not a history course, but it does examine stability and change across time. The course draws on empirical cases dealing with a range of interrelated issues, including economic change, environmental values, energy and water conflicts, native experiences, religion, American mythologies, gender, race, and the culture of individualism. Engaging with important theories, debates, and scholarly work around these exciting cultural and political issues is the primary goal of this course. Because of the importance of engaging these issues on the ground in real-life situations, the course includes a short (and optional) field trip during the October break.
Field Course in Culture, Environmental Politics, and Social Change
Yale 783: This course provides students with the opportunity to engage environmental politics and social change through experiential field-based learning and immersive research. Using a case-study approach, the course emphasizes active learning and independent research about broad theoretical issues pertaining to culture, politics, values, social movements, and institutional structures. The central component of the course is a major field trip to Western Wyoming, which is an especially salient context for examining these theoretical issues through the lens of water scarcity, population growth, income inequality, energy development, local knowledge, and indigenous perspectives. The course meets throughout the term for instruction and discussion in preparation for the spring break trip, and it concludes with sessions where students present their research. Due to high demand, the course requires a short application.
Advanced Seminar: Methods in Digital Text Analysis and Network Science
Sociology of Culture