I come from a non-academic background, and have spent a majority of my career investigating the effect that space and culture have on interaction and the communication of ideas. My BA is in Fine Arts from the Pratt Institute, where I studied design and sculpture. My final projects focused on the role of ritual and architecture in the process of meaning making. I spent several years working in a variety of areas before returning to school. At the University of Notre Dame, I have focused on social network theory, small group theory, relational theories, community development, race, poverty, and gender dynamics.
I have been involved in the NetSence cell phone study for the past 5 years. I am conducting my own studies using this methodology, collecting data on class and race relations in evolving urban communities. The first is being conducted in the Near Northwest Neighborhood of South Bend (with the support of David Hachen, Omar Lizardo, Aaron Striegel, the American Dream Grant, Nitesh Chawla, iCensa, and the Wireless Institute) and the other is being conducted in a favela in Brazil (with the support of David Hachen, Omar Lizardo, Aaron Striegel, Eduardo Marques of the Center for Metropolitan Studies at the University of São Paulo, USAID, the Kellogg Institute, Nitesh Chawla, iCeNSA, and the Wireless Institute). The goals of these studies are to provide comparisons to the NetSense data, allowing us to theorize on how various economic levels and the number and types of social relations they support effect the formation of cross-group ties. This is important when considering developmental consequences, like gentrification, that occurs regularly in urban renewal projects globally.
This research is based on previous field work I have done in Brazil (that was supported by the Graduate School, the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures, and the Kellogg Institute), and research that I have done on cultural diffusion, relationship formation, relationship persistence, network size and the effect of personality on network behavior. My other current research is on early childhood education and the formation of economic systems to support it. My dissertation is on analyzing Event History data, to identify interaction behaviors that are associated with relationship persistence and individual change.
Cultural diffusion; Relationship formation; Relationship persistence; Network size and the effect of personality on network behavior