The NetSCI networks lab is directed by Drs. Marya Doerfel and Matthew Weber. In addition, we have three affiliated faculty members, a post-doctoral research associate and eight graduate students working with the lab. Below you’ll find information about our members and their individual research interests.
Marya Doerfel conducts research on qualities of social network relationships impact organizations and their relational environments. She has conducted communication and network assessments inside organizations and in areas in which major transformation has affected stakeholder partnerships or when such partnerships facilitate transformation. Such work has been conducted in Croatia, during the country’s political transformation, in New Orleans, LA and Houston, TX, USA, following the devastation of physical and social infrastructures as a result of hurricanes Katrina and Harvey, respectively.
Sophia Fu’s research interests center around organizations, social networks, information and communication technologies (ICTs), entrepreneurship, innovation, and computational social science. Her research is motivated by one question: How can organizations more effectively catalyze organizational and social change? She uses multiple methods, such as interviews, content analysis, social network analysis, and statistical modeling, to examine the dynamic processes of organizing for public value creation. She has won awards for her research from the Academy of Management, International Communication Association, and National Science Foundation.
Paul McLean (Sociology) has focused on exploring the connections between multiple kinds of social networks—marriage networks, economic networks, and political patronage networks chiefly—and describing the cultural practices actors adopt to move within and across these networks. He has documented the development of elaborate strategies of self-presentation in Renaissance Florence—in articles (AJS 104,1:51-91 ; CSSH 47, 3:638-64 ), and in a book (The Art of the Network) from Duke University Press . He has studied Florentine market structure (Journal of Modern History 83, 1: 1-47  and AJS 111,4 ) and the political organization of Polish elites (Theory and Society 33:167-212  as products of multiple-network dynamics. More recently he has participated in collaborative research exploring intersections of meaning and social network structure (Poetics 41: 122-50 ; Social Networks 35: 499-513 ). He has a growing interest in the social dynamics of videogame play, and in using a multiple-network perspective to understand the organization of academia. He has taught courses at Rutgers on social network analysis, social theory, political sociology, economic sociology, the sociology of culture, and the sociology of organizations.
Katherine (Katya) Ognyanova is an Assistant Professor in the Communication Department at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University. She does work in the areas of computational social science and network analysis. Her research has a broad focus on the impact of technology on social structures, political and civic engagement, and the media system.
Prior to her appointment at Rutgers, Katherine was a postdoctoral researcher at the Lazer Lab, Northeastern University and a fellow at the Institute for Quantitative Social Science, Harvard University. She holds a doctoral degree in Communication from the University of Southern California.
Hana Shepherd is an Assistant Professor in Sociology. Her work focuses on three areas: the relationship between individual cognition, social norms, and social networks; cognitive and social psychological accounts of culture; and the relationship between organizational procedures and inequality. She uses diverse methods including network analysis, lab and field-based experiments, interviews, and archival research. She is currently studying network structure and network change using data from a field experiment that she co-directed in 56 middle schools in New Jersey, the Roots Program. The intervention program worked with randomly selected students and assessed how those students influenced their peers and the climate of the school as a whole. As part of the intervention assessment, the project collected complete longitudinal network data for all 56 schools. Her other projects use measures from cognitive psychology for the study of culture and behavior change. She received her Ph.D. in 2011 from Princeton University. Before coming to Rutgers, she was a postdoctoral research associate and lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Department of Psychology at Princeton University.
Matthew Weber is an Associate Professor of Communication at University of Minnesota and worked with Marya Doerfel as one of the co-founding directors of the lab from 2011-2018.