About Sam Zhang
my email is shimian dot my last name at gmail.com
Pronouns: he/him.

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Applied Mathematics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow in the area of Science Policy. I consider myself a computational social scientist and a data scientist. My advisor is Aaron Clauset.

Data science holds immense potential to shape public policy and improve the world. My research program moves toward this vision by combining statistical and computational techniques to advance policy-relevant basic science. My agenda is motivated by an ethical reflectiveness: I apply data science to illuminate the pathways for improving complex social institutions, starting with the ones I myself inhabit, ranging from the personal (scientific decision-making) to the local (academic careers) and the global (human rights).

My work has appeared in high-profile journals such as Nature, Science Advances, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Nature Communications. I have been recognized as a University of Chicago Rising Star in Data Science.

During my PhD, I was a (2x) research intern with the MSR NYC Computational Social Science group and a Data Science & Human Rights Fellow with HRDAG. Previously, I worked as a software consultant at Pivotal Labs, a software engineer at multiple startups including on a DARPA project, and as a Data Science for Social Good Fellow at the University of Chicago. I received my undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Psychology from Swarthmore College in 2014.

I am organizing to improve public higher education with my labor union, United Campus Workers Colorado, and currently serving my third term on the Executive Board of CWA 7799.

Link to CV
Google Scholar
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