Newhouse postdoctoral scholar to co-lead summer institute at Syracuse University

Martina Santia

The Newhouse School’s first postdoctoral scholar, Martina Santia, will co-lead the Summer Institute in Computational Social Science at Syracuse University (SICSS-Syracuse) in June 2023. The Computational Social Science Advisory Council recently elected to approve and fund the development of the week-long institute, which will be hosted at the Newhouse School and co-led by Jasmina Tacheva, an assistant professor in the School of Information Studies. This is the first time that a summer institute of this kind will take place at Syracuse University.

SICSS-Syracuse will bring together graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty interested in computational social science and the humanities. The program aims to advance knowledge and develop research ideas to address societal challenges through computational methods. It will also introduce a number of potential applications of social justice informatics as a way of connecting data, technology, computational literacy and social justice in the social sciences.

Jasmina Tacheva

“[Jasmina and I] are excited to work with graduate and Ph.D. students and early career scholars from diverse cultural, ethnic and racial backgrounds, as well as scholars with varying levels of computational social science skills,” Santia says. “Sometimes numbers and data can be very scary, but the objective is to really make these tools available to them so they can then gain the skills and apply them, whether they are in the social sciences or in the humanities.”

SICSS-Syracuse aims to empower prospective participants who are traditionally underrepresented in the field of computational social science and seeks to discuss and foster ideas about how to make the field more equitable, inclusive, diverse and accessible.

This instructional program will involve lectures, group problem sets and participant-led research projects, as well as outside speakers who conduct computational social science research in academia and industry. The institute will investigate issues of race, gender and systemic social and economic inequality through computational approaches such as data justice, ethics, textual analysis and machine learning. Participants will discuss their ideas amongst each other and develop a community that will last beyond the institute.

Recruitment efforts have already started, with the goal being to accept around 10-15 participants (graduate students and junior faculty) from the Central New York area.

“I’m very excited about sharing knowledge and the fact that this entire institute takes place at SU,” Santia says. “All the materials and resources are open access. So anybody with an internet connection can access the website, download all the materials and lectures and use them to develop their own projects. That’s the most exciting part. It’s shareable, open and replicable.”