Current Fellows

About the Fellows

The Neukom Fellows Program launched in 2012. Fellows have three-year appointments and for their interdisciplinary work which has a computational theme, are co-sponsored and mentored by faculty in at least two departments or programs. Fellows teach one course in each year of their residency. The 2018 Neukom Fellows with their Ph.D. granting institutions and departmental affiliations are given below, along with descriptions from the Fellows of their research plans.

Ethan Coffel

Geography and Earth Sciences; Mentors- Justin Mankin, Jonathan Winter, and Erich Osterberg 
(Ph.D. expected 2018)

Ethan studies how climate change is affecting extreme weather, and what impacts these changes will have on human societies and natural ecosystems. His tools are climate models, which enable investigation of the behavior of the climate system both in the past and the future. He strives to understand the physical mechanisms driving changes in the climate, and to present climate information and its uncertainty clearly to facilitate adaptation planning.

He has a PhD from Columbia University, where he studied extreme heat and its impacts on human health and infrastructure. As a Neukom Fellow, he will develop methods to analyze how increasingly frequent hot and dry conditions will affect global agriculture.

Jeff Kerby

  • Penn State – Ecology
  • Arctic Studies/Computer Science/Environmental Studies/Biology
  • Mentors: Ross Virginia (ENVS, Arctic Studies) and Matt Ayres (BIOL) 

The ecology of high-latitude and high-altitude systems has broad impacts on global weather and economic systems, yet is particularly sensitive to ongoing climate change. My research plans blend classical ecological perspectives with emerging methods in physical computing and quantitative photography to address how and why abiotic change in these seasonal environments affects phenology, demography, and trophic dynamics. Combining experimental, observational, and modeling approaches, my research focuses on the indirect effects of climate change across levels of ecological resolution, primarily in the Arctic and critically understudied Afro-alpine systems.

• New York TimesFor Some Arctic Plants, Spring Arrives Almost a Month Earlier
National GeographicIndigenous Cultures and Hi-Tech Drones Reveal Secrets of Siberia

Awards & Grants:
Parrot Climate Innovation Grant

Teaching & Speaking:
Arctic Change 2017: Latitude Drone Ecology Network
• Neukom Fellow Jeff Kerby Brought New Drone Technology and Analytical Help to Environmental Studies Undergraduates on a Recent Dartmouth FSP trip to Namibia.

Joseph Dexter

Comparative Literature, Biological Sciences, Computer Science and Classics; Mentors - Michelle Warren, Mark McPeek, Saeed Hassanpour and Margaret Graver
(PhD., expected 2018)

Joseph has broad research interests that span both the humanities and the natural sciences. His main interests in computational biology are the development of mathematical models that capture the collective, systems-level properties of metabolic and signaling networks, and predictive analytics for high-dimensional clinical data. Dexter’s humanistic research focuses on quantitative literary criticism, especially as applied to classics and the profound influence of Greek and Latin authors on subsequent culture.

He is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School and co-founder and co-director with Pramit Chaudhuri of the Quantitative Criticism Lab. At the Quantitative Criticism Lab he has been working on diverse problems at the intersection of literature, computation, and biology. Particular interests of the group include the development of enhanced computational methods to support literary criticism and intertextual profiling (often drawing on techniques from bioinformatics), elucidation of authorial, generic, and temporal stylistic signatures using machine learning, and cultural evolutionary studies of literature.

Kyle Booten

English and Linguistics and Computer Science; Mentors - Aden Evens and Christiane Donahue 
(Ph.D., expected 2017)

Kyle Booten is an interdisciplinary scholar whose work combines ethnography, media studies, and computational linguistics to study the ways that old and new forms of literacy meet and transform each other. 

His most recent research has explored the circulation of literary quotations on social networks as well as the popularization of new, platform-specific literary genres; he believes that those who are interested in the fate of cultural categories like poetry and philosophy must contend with the ways that these entities are evolving on social networks, largely outside of longstanding literary and educational institutions. 

As a Neukom Fellow, Kyle will design tools and algorithmic agents that intervene politically and aesthetically in these networks, building bridges between them and traditional archives.  Kyle is a doctoral candidate at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education and the Berkeley Center for New Media.  He holds an AB (English) from Princeton University and an MFA (Poetry) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Rick Smith

Anthropology and Genetics; Mentors - Zane Thayer and Brock Christensen
(Ph.D. expected 2017)

Rick W. A. Smith will receive his doctorate in Anthropology from the University of Texas at Austin in the Summer of 2017. Broadly, his research merges molecular biology and social anthropology to explore the entanglements of matter and meaning, the ways in which social, political, and biological forces interact to shape human bodies past and present. Rick’s primary interest is in the field of paleoepigenetics, an emerging area of ancient DNA research that reconstructs chemical modifications to ancient DNA and evaluates their environmental causes.

Rick conducts his paleoepigenetic work within theoretical frameworks from feminist and queer materialisms to understand the effects of class, gender, and ethnic violence in ancient civilizations of the Americas. He is also interested in critical science studies and the biopolitics of DNA research, how social, political, ideological, and historical factors influence knowledge production in genomics.