2015 Fellows

Seth Frey

Mentors: Luke Chang, PBS; Mary Flanagan, Digital Humanities; Eugene Santos, Engineering; Brendan Nyhan, Government

Seth Frey is a computational social scientist researching online societies. He is coming to the Neukom Institute from a postdoctoral position at Disney Research, a corporate research lab serving the Walt Disney Company. He earned a B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Ph.D. in "Cognitive Science and Informatics" from Indiana University. He researches higher-level reasoning and social cognition in order to improve the design and analysis of complex decision environments. 

Talks, Papers, Etc.

Emily Klancher Merchant

Mentors: Robert Bonner, History; Leslie Butler, History; Richard Wright, Geography

Emily holds a Ph.D. in History from the University of Michigan, where she also completed a graduate certificate in Science, Technology, and Society and the predoctoral training program in Population Studies. Emily is currently writing a book manuscript and a series of articles based on her dissertation, “Prediction and Control: Global Population, Population Science, and Population Politics in the Twentieth Century,” which combined archival, oral, and computational methods of analysis to trace the history of demography and global population politics from 1920 to 1984.

As a Neukom fellow, Emily will continue work on the project's online companion, “A Digital Reading of Twentieth-Century Demography” developing it into a  resource for the history of demography and for the use of computational methods in  the history of science.


Conference Presentations

  • “The Technopolitics of Population Control.” Policy History Conference, Nashville, TN.
  • "Birth control or population control: Systemic contraceptive technologies and global biopolitics after World War II." Organization of American Historians, Providence, RI. 
  • "Making a case for universal expertise: Demographers in the British Empire After World War II." Social Science History Association, Baltimore, MD.• "Making global population data and making population data global after World War II." Social Science History Association, Baltimore, MD.
  • "La raza: Mexicans in the United States Census." Social Science History Association, Baltimore, MD. With Brian Gratton.

Laurel Symes

Mentors: Thalia Wheatley, PBS; Hannah ter Hofstede, Biology 

Laurel earned a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Denison and a PhD in Biological Sciences at Dartmouth. As a Neukom Fellow, Laurel is using machine learning and neural networks to study recognition and decision-making in organisms that range in neural complexity from insects to humans. Animals (including people) use sensory systems to decipher amazingly complex problems. The ability to detect, process, and react to cues in the environment underlies nearly every aspect of an animal’s life, including finding food, avoiding threats, and choosing mates. Laurel’s research addresses fundamental questions in neurobiology and behavior: how do organisms recognize relevant stimuli? How does the process of recognition evolve, diverge, and interact with the context in which decisions are made?”


Publications & Popular Articles

Field Work