Introducing Our Newest Faculty Member

The Department of Sociology is delighted to welcome Dr. Yongren Shi to our faculty. Dr. Shi was born and raised in Suzhou, China. He received a B.A (2005) and M.A. (2007) in Engineering from the prestigious Huazhong University of Science and Technology. In 2016 Dr. Shi completed his PhD in Sociology at Cornell University.   From 2016 -2018, Dr. Shi held a post-doctoral associate position at the Human Nature Lab, Yale Institute for Network Science at Yale University. Here at the University of Iowa, Dr. Shi holds the position of Assistant Professor of Sociology and Faculty Affiliate of Iowa Informatics Initiative.

Professor Shi

Dr. Shi’s primary research is in the areas of social networks, culture, public opinion, social psychology, and organizations. His research interests extend to design and application of computational methods to sociological questions. His recent research focuses on online and offline social networks and mechanisms of social influence. For example, Dr. Shi’s used social media data on book co-purchase networks from Amazon and Barnes & Nobles to exam whether shared interest in science books bridges political differences. Dr. Shi’s study involved an analysis of more than two million books and thirty million book recommendations. He has extended his research to include social network data from Twitter and Facebook. This research documents extensive evidence of political polarization. In an ongoing project, Dr. Shi is studying the structure and function of multiplex social networks in rural Honduras. Dr. Shi’s current research agenda includes a study of the relationship between social network constraints and organizations’ ability to recruit and retain members. In this work, Dr. Shi proposes that social encapsulation and time and energy demand, two dimensions of organizational strategy, significantly affect affiliation dynamics. Dr. Shi’s research has appeared Sociological Methods and Research, Network Science, Social Forces, American Sociological Review, Social Science Research, and Medical Care, to name a few.

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