Our interdisciplinary team combines expertise in educational theory, mathematics education, and computer science computational research in social media data analytics.

Zixi Chen

I am currently a Ph.D. candidate at the College of Education, Michigan State University, majoring in Measurement and Quantitative Methods. I have a strong focus on using quantitative methods to answer empirical social science questions, particularly in teacher development and student learning. 


Expecting to complete my doctoral degree in May 2020, I am seeking a career at a research institution or ed-tech/social media company with a focus on studying individual's technology-based information-seeking and learning behaviors. 

My research interests lie at the intersection between quantitative and computational methods. During my doctoral studies, I worked in the Teachers in Social Media project with a multi-disciplinary team. This work primarily focused on the study of teachers’ curation behaviors related to digital instructional resources on social media.


The statistical and computational methods that I mainly specialize in include HLM, social network analysis, interrupted time series analysis, factor analysis, and text mining. I have strong skills in R and Stata, and am familiar with Python. Substantively, I have background in educational theory and policy and hold teacher certification. 

Five keywords for describing myself: 

Committed, Analytical, Dynamic, Detail-oriented, and Broad-minded. 


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Hamid Karimi

I am currently a Ph.D. student of Computer Science at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) at Michigan State University (MSU) and a member of the Data Science and Engineering (DSE) lab. My research interests are in machine learning, data mining, natural language processing, social network analysis, and computational social science.


Expecting to complete my doctoral degree in August 2020, I am seeking a career at a research institution with a focus on quantitative and qualitative studies of social science problems using machine learning algorithms and techniques. I have published several papers in the top conferences and journals on networking, social network analysis, big data, machine learning, and education. Moreover, I am an active member of the Teachers in Social Media Project at MSU where I develop data mining and machine learning models and algorithms to characterize instructional resources on online social media.


I received several awards including the best paper award for our paper presented at 2018 IEEE-ACM International Conference on Advances in Social Networks Analysis and Mining, which is one of the top conferences in social network analysis. Please refer to my webpage for more detail http://cse.msu.edu/~karimiha/


Five keywords for describing myself: Focused, Innovative, Collaborative, Open-minded, and Committed.


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We use qualitative and quantitative approaches to examine teachers' engagement in social media and virtual spaces. Job candidates have been trained in marrying computer science and big data with theoretical and practical applications within social science.



We model changes in teachers' resource access and sharing and diffusion of resources within social networks across physical and virtual spaces to make causal inference.

Computer Science

We use machine learning on heterogenous data integration to understand instructional content and teachers' networks at scale.

Tyler Derr


I am currently a Computer Science Ph.D. student in the Data Science and Engineering (DSE) Lab at Michigan State University (MSU). 


My research spans across the following three main areas: (1) signed social network analysis,

i.e., network analysis with negative links, where positive links represent friends/trust and negative links represent foes/distrust; (2) deep learning on graphs, which attempts to harness deep learning for graph structured data; and (3) data science for social good, where my work has spanned across a wide variety of domains, such as Education through my involvement in the TISM project.


Expecting to complete my doctoral degree in Summer 2020, I am seeking a tenure-track Assistant Professor position at a research institution starting in Fall 2020. More specifically, in Computer Science or Computational Social Science, where I plan to use my unique skill set and experiences in data science and interdisciplinary research to have a direct impact towards improving our society. 


My research has received numerous prestigious awards, such as Best Student Poster Award at SDM19; “People’s Choice” Award for the 3 Minute Thesis Competition at MSU; 2nd Prize at University of Michigan’s Postdoctoral Symposium; and my advisor receiving his NSF CAREER Award based on my research in social network analysis with negative links. 


I’m always open for discussions and collaborations, so please feel free to contact me.



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Alan Daly, Ph.D.-University of Southern California San Diego
Christine Greenhow, Ph.D.- 
Michigan State University

Martin Rehm, Ph.D.- PH Weingarten
Frank Cornelissen, Ph.D.-University of Cambridge

Mark Berends, Ph.D.- Notre Dame University

Bill Carbarnaro, Ph.D.- Notre Dame University

Diana Brandon, Ph.D.- Charleston Southern University

Ann Marie Mapes- Michigan Department of Education 

Teachers in Social Media Alumni

Amanda Opperman- Michigan State University

Yun-jia Lo, Ph.D.- University of Michigan

Nicole Donzella- University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Brianna Canedo- Michigan State University

Andy Jurasek- Michigan State University

Emily Emrick- Teach for America 2019 corps member- Indianapolis

Kimberly Jansen, Ph.D.- Middle Tennessee State University

John Lane, Ph.D.- Michigan State University

Study of Elementary Mathematics Instruction 

Peter Youngs, Ph.D.- University of Virginia

Kristen Bieda, Ph.D.- Michigan State University

Serena Salloum, Ph.D.- Ball State University

Epistemic Network Analysis Team

David Williamson Shaffer, Ph.D.- University of Wisconsin

Drew Huang- University of Wisconsin

Sara Tabatabai-University of Wisconsin

Brendan Eagan- University of Wisconsin

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Thank you to our Sponsors

Research has been supported by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Center for Business and Social Analytics at MSU, the National Science Foundation, and the William T. Grant Foundation under award numbers (NSF REAL– 1420532, WT Grant - 182764)

Contact Us

Tel: 517-353-3618

Email: torphyka@msu.edu

Michigan State University

College of Education

East Lansing, MI