I currently am a Post-Doctoral Fellow in the Organization, Communication & Technology (OCT) group at Chapman University. My research broadly considers the social and political implications of technology, often mobile media and data. I am particularly interested in civic engagement, social well-being, and organization. These themes come together in my articles and book on “Civic Tech”: a movement of people in government and non-profit organizations collaborating on projects for the public good. To research these topics I employ quantitative (surveys, trace data analysis) and qualitative (ethnography, interviews) methodologies, often in combination (“mixed methods”). Theoretically my work is situated in communication; sociology; science and technology studies (STS); cultural studies; and political science. My research has been published in journals such as New Media & Society; the International Journal of Communication; Social Media + Society, and Big Data + Society. Thematically my research on communication and technology falls in three areas:
Infrastructure and Organization
I am currently a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Chapman University. There I help lead a research group (The OCT Group) funded by a $519k NSF Career grant awarded to Dr. Kerk Kee. We are looking at the diffusion of the socio-technical infrastructure that enables collaboration on large-scale scientific projects. Specifically, we are using qualitative and quantitative methodologies to examine how the adoption of technologies such as “big data” analysis and modeling lead to collaboration and increase organizational capacities. In 2017 I am analyzing data, guiding students through collecting additional data, and drafting papers on specific themes.
Civic Engagement and Politics
Much of my personal research considers how how local governments, organizations and residents co-design and implement communication infrastructure for the public good. For example, I have looked at “innovation teams” operating inside government, and how outside “data intermediaries” interpret the civic value of open data. This work has culminated in several peer-reviewed articles for leading journals, and a crowdsourced public-facing book on the “civic tech” movement that will be completed in early 2017. I also advocate for a responsive and responsible government through work and volunteering; I am on Long Beach’s Technology and Innovation Commission, and from 2015 to 2016 I was the first Civic Data Fellow for the city of Los Angeles where I worked with the city’s Innovation Delivery Team.
I also research how mobile media and social media media alter the form and function of everyday communication, thereby improving social cohesion. My dissertation used quantitative and qualitative methodologies to explore how mobile practices improved feelings of connectedness, particularly through media production, in the context of new parents. This theme extended from my MA thesis, which explored young adult dependency with social network sites (SNSs). This body of work draws from literature in sociology, computer-mediated communication (CMC), media ecologies, and affordances. Articles from my dissertation have been published in the International Journal of Communication and Social Media + Society.
I received my BA in computer science and fine art with honors from Brandeis University. After graduation I worked as a software developer and project manager, periodically penning articles on technology and music. At University of Central Florida I majored in communication and taught in the Digital Media department while moonlighting as reseller of vinyl records. My thesis examined habitual use of social network sites among youth groups. This work brought me to California, where I was a research assistant to danah boyd and assistant director of the Annenberg Program on Online Communities. In 2009 I entered the Ph.D program at the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, completing in May 2015. During this time I worked closely with François Bar on community-led design and Henry Jenkins on civic engagement in his Civic Paths group. During this time I was also a member of research groups including Metamorphosis, the Annenberg Innovation lab, and Civic Tech USC. In my spare time I work on my garden, spend time with my daughter, and explore Los Angeles’ diverse communities.