Our Team

“In our lab, we conduct social network research to understand how and why marginalization happens. Our goal is to identify and disrupt the processes that prevent some people and ideas from being fully heard. We hope to empower marginalized communities to amplify their voice.”
Professor Brooke Foucault Welles, Lab Director

Lab Director

Brooke Foucault Welles

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies and core faculty of  the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University. I am fascinated by how communication technology shapes, changes, and transforms our relationships with power. From small groups to whole societies, I use computational and mixed-methods to understand how everyday people can use communication technology to create a more just, equitable, and inclusive world. I love to collaborate in interdisciplinary teams and I have co-authored with colleagues from many different disciplines, including computer science, psychology, sociology, political science, digital humanities, design, and public health. I earned my  Ph.D. in Media, Technology and Society from Northwestern University, and M.S. and B.S. degrees in Communication from Cornell University.

In addition to research, I love teaching and mentoring. I won my college and university’s Excellence in Teaching awards in 2017, I co-founded Women in Network Science (WiNS), and I am fortunate to work with a team of brilliant junior researchers in the CoMM Lab.

Postdoctoral Researchers

Larissa Doroshenko

I am a Postdoctoral Teaching Associate in the Department of Communication Studies at Northeastern University. My research interests are centered on the effects of new media on political campaigning, with a particular focus on “the dark side” of the internet: populism, nationalism, and disinformation campaigns. While studying these topics, I employ traditional and automated content analysis, HLM, SEM, negative binomial and hierarchical regression, as well as network and time series analyses. Prior to joining CoMM Lab I was part of Social Media and Democracy (SMAD) and Computational Methods groups at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

I received my doctoral degree in from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and my master’s from Mid Sweden University. My passion for mass media and politics started when I was studying journalism at Belarusian State University and simultaneously worked as a freelance reporter.

In addition to research, I have taught courses on digital media and political communication, persuasion, research methods, group discussion, public speaking, and interpersonal communication.

Graduate Research Assistants

Ryan J. Gallagher

I am a fourth-year student in the Network Science Ph.D. program at Northeastern. Through my research, I aim to be a computational social scientist who respects and brings together social network analysis, natural language processing, complex systems, and communication theory. My work focuses on how individuals use online communication networks to amplify their voices, and how that amplification can resonate through online media ecologies. I am particularly interested in how polarized public spheres collide in these spaces, and how those collisions can be safeguarded against discursive and structural manipulation.

My route to being a computational social scientist started with B.A. in mathematics from the University of Connecticut, which was followed by an M.S. in math from the University of Vermont, where I worked with the Computational Story Lab at the Vermont Complex Systems Center. I have also done research internships with Facebook Core Data Science, where I addressed coordinated operations and misinformation, and the University of Southern California’s Information Sciences Institute. Outside of research, I play guitar and I am currently trying to become my own one-man band, to varying degrees of success.

Adina Gitomer

I am an incoming first-year student in the Network Science Ph.D. program at Northeastern. While the internet is vast and full of unknowns, it is also fundamentally structured; I want to use network science tools to dig into that structure, and explore how it is used. Quite broadly, I am interested in studying online communication and political organizing, with a particular curiosity about the co-production of technical spaces and social interaction. Ultimately, I hope to use my research to uplift, and offer careful and accessible engagement with the way we inhabit the internet. 

I recently earned my undergraduate degree in computer science and critical social theory at Wesleyan University. During my time there, I collaborated with the Wesleyan Media Project to research funding behavior behind political ads on Facebook, and I wrote a network science thesis on affective communication in YouTube’s far-right channels. Beyond these projects, I have a very long history and strong background in being a person on the internet. 

Some things that I love outside of research include word games, puzzles, and set. I will happily play set at any time.

V Lange

I am a first year PhD student working with Dr. Brooke Foucault Welles and Dr. Christoph Riedl. I have a Bachelors in Psychology and a minor in Art from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. At UW-Madison I investigated the relationship between bilingualism, semantic networks and creativity. Most recently I was a lab manager for a cognitive neuroscience lab at Penn State. At Penn State I studied cross-situational word learning and how people learn from linguistic Networks. At Northeastern I am interested in studying marginalization and communication in teams as well as marginalization in social networks.

In my spare time I enjoy sewing, drawing my pet rabbit and playing board games.

Shreya Singh

I am a Masters of Computer Science candidate at the Khoury college of ComputerSciences at Northeastern. I have a Bachelor of Technology in InformationTechnology from Jalpaiguri Government Engineering College, India. At JGEC, Idid multiple projects in the domain of Natural Language Processing and MachineTranslation, particularly Tweet Classification and Domain based MachineTranslation.Most recently I worked as a Data Analyst at L&T in India. AtL&T, I worked on IOT data and increasing productivity of their Plant andMachinery, I also helped develop a Chatbot for their Quality Department . AtNortheastern I am interested in expanding my knowledge in Artificial intelligence.

In my spare time I enjoy painting watercolors and reading fiction.

Undergraduate Research Assistants

Andrea Barrios

I’m a fourth-year Communication Studies and Graphic & Information Design major at NEU.

After taking Dr. Welles's class last year I joined the Comm Lab in order to learn more about and to get further immersed into Network Science. I am currently exploring different areas within the CoMM Lab and look forward to identifying my interests!

At the CoMM Lab I also work as a designer. I worked on re-designing the logo and creating a brand for the CoMM Lab website. I have also taken other smaller-scale design projects. Aside from working in the CoMM Lab I am the Operations Director at Scout, NEU's student-led design studio. You can usually find me surrounded by house plants and watercoloring.


Eric Gu

I'm a fourth-year Linguistics & Cultural Anthropology major at Northeastern. I'm primarily interested in using both computational and ethnographic methods to gain a fuller picture of how political discourse plays out online. I'm especially fascinated by fringe extremist groups such as the alt-right and how these communities are able to organize on the internet. Having previously worked on projects in computer-mediated communication with a qualitative focus, I'm looking to learn more about quantitative and computational methods to navigate through the internet. Outside of academics, I work as a freelance translator and also run the Northeastern University Tabletop Roleplaying Society (NUTRS).

Alexandra Madaras

I am a first year at Northeastern studying History, Culture, & Law with a concentration in Digital Humanities. Growing up "heavily online," I eventually became involved in political and community organizing which sparked an interest in how digital communication and online data are used to advance and inhibit social movements. I am primarily interested in the protection of user data, particularly from marginalized populations, from corporations and the government. Outside of research, I love biking, adding to my weird earring collection, and (re)watching Avatar: The Last Airbender.

Hana Chalmers

I am a rising second year at Northeastern studying Business and Communications with a concentration in marketing. After taking Dr. Welles Social Networks course, I became fascinated with the idea of how researchers can track the connections between social media users by analyzing their past movements. I am particularly interested in how we can use communication theory to understand the connections between certain social media users and why some users hold more power than others. I hope that by researching, we can discover which users are receiving more attention in social networks in order to ultimately help marginalized groups receive equal amounts of attention.

Outside of school, you will most likely find me in the kitchen testing out a new recipe as I love to bake or cook whenever I have the time.

Staff

Kristen Flaherty

I am a Northeastern Communication Studies alumna, Army Research Lab (Human Research and Engineering division) research associate, and lab manager of CoMM Lab. My research interests lie in computational social science, technology ethics, public interest technology and the use of technology for public good. Apart from organizing lab operations, I assist the Smart Technology and Teams project’s research efforts. From my perspective, one of the most important goals of this project is to shed light onto how smart technologies can help reduce cognitive biases of team members, encourage inclusivity and improve team performance in the workplace. My work includes quantitative analyses of team gender dynamics, gender bias and intergroup bias, design and facilitation of human subjects experiments, IRB management and quantitative analyses of multimodal data streams. Aside from conducting research and drafting graduate school applications, you can find me baking vegan desserts, re-reading Malcolm Gladwell books, learning to make my own clothes, and saying yes to almost every travel opportunity.

Sagar Kumar

I am a third-year Physics and Philosophy Undergraduate student at Northeastern University. I’ve been in the CoMM lab for two years assisting with projects regarding hashtag activism, and leading my own research on hashtag virality and framing following highly affective events. Since 2018, my main focus has been understanding the nature of the conversation following the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Shooting (centered around #Parkland) and its ability to bring online activism offline. My work focuses on leveraging network science and statistical mechanics to do quantitative research in communications and sociology with the hopes of one day being able to use the language of mathematics to find what truths I believe lie at the intersection of pure physics and critical philosophy.

Outside of research, I spend most of my time traveling in every way I can - even when that doesn’t necessarily involve going anywhere. I love exploring movies, books, food, and music from around the world and using that to help me in my ultimate goal of better understanding the world and understanding my own experience as a Indian-American in the 21st century.

Alumni

Wayne Xu
Former Postdoctoral Researcher, currently faculty at UMass Amherst

Gyanendra Sharma
Former Postdoctoral Researcher, currently at Toyota Research Institute

Omkar Terse
Former Graduate Research Assistant, currently Data Science Engineer at Entrata

Dominic Ridley
Former Undergraduate Research Assistant