I'm Nate (he/they)!
I am a Postdoctoral Scholar at Northwestern and I earned my PhD with the CDSC at the University of Washington. My research covers ecological analyses of online communication, lifecycles and governance in online communities, and the analysis of field experiments in online community platforms.
Many people invoke "ecosystem" as metaphor to emphasize complexity and interdependence in communication systems like the Internet. However, there is also a huge natural science called "ecology" which successfully learns about biological ecosystems. Organizational sociologists and communication scientists have already appropriated theories, models and methods from ecology to understand interdependence between human organizations like firms and social movements. I draw both from these social science literatures and from bio-ecology to understand how environmental contexts and interdependence between online communities shapes their growth, survival and organizing processes. My master's thesis (with Mako and Aaron) applied this approach using topic models to study competition between online petitions.
I grew up in Eastern Washington, where I worked in a glass Laboratory at PNNL where I contributed to a number of material science papers. I went to college at Whitworth University where I received a double-B.S. in Mathematics and Computer Science in 2012. As an undergrad I was part of a humble bioinformatics research group and contributed to research in structured search engines. After this I worked at Microsoft for a couple of years where I did a number of small things mainly related to search suggestions for Bing multimedia. After this I briefly worked as a data science consultant in medical informatics.
I care deeply about the free software and free culture movements. I've been using Linux for 10 years and I support the free software community as a member of the free software foundation. I've been coding for 20 years and a Linux user 14 years. I also contribute to Wikipedia.
My main hobbies are skiing, rock climbing, guitar playing, listening to music, and cooking. I'm married to Amanda, a community organizer, medical doctor, and a family medicine resident at Kaiser Permanente in Seattle.