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Devin Cornell is a Sociology graduate student at UCSB with an NSF IGERT Fellowship in Network Science. He is also a member of the Broom Center for Demography, a mentor for the UCSB Data Science Club, and involved in various teaching projects. His primary interest is in political culture and ideology in Colombia, the UK, and the US using computational text analysis and relational quantitative methods. Devin’s background in Engineering lends well to his integration of machine learning with classical quantitative methods to provide new insight into old questions about culture and conflict.

In December 2015 he received his B.S. in Electrical Engineering at Missouri S&T where he focused on machine learning and signal processing. He’s completed five technical internships with the latest being at the Monitoring Systems and Technology Intern Center at Sandia National Laboratories where he worked on satellite and ground sensing systems. He also completed one summer as a policy associate in the Washington Internship for Students of Engineering where he brought development research to USAID operating procedure updates. Undergraduate academic research experience includes a project using EEG as a Brain-Control Interface in the Missouri S&T Applied Computational Intelligence Laboratory, Optogenitics for Sleep Research in the Missouri S&T Sleep Laboratory, and and Active Compression-Decompression CPR in Microgravity with the Miners in Space Flight Research Team.

I have been passionate about diversity and cultural exchange in our society since my semester as an exchange student at Universiti Teknologi Petronas in Malaysia. I am forever grateful for the friends I made and the experiences I had in that time.

Why switch from engineering to sociology?

I love the way technology helps us explore and solve problems, but technology is only part of the answer to questions we face as a global community.

I came to sociology through two parallel paths: a personal interest in society and an academic interest in data science. I developed in my understanding of people, cultures, and society through travel. Meeting people from across the world opens your mind to many points of view and allows you to question everything you have been taught about the world. As an engineering student I developed my technical skills through research, internships, and coursework. Eventually as I was finishing my degree I started to understand how I could use my technical skills to explore theory and policy in society. I want to spend my career asking questions about the ways we interact and how we can develop policy to make our lives better.

Interests: sociology of culture, network science, computational social science, game theory, machine learning, and complexity science.


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