Life, death, and some stats in-between
I am a Senior Data Research Scientist at the Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics at the University of Pennsylvania, a research affiliate of the Population Studies Center, an associate scholar at the Center for Global Health, and an associate fellow at the Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics.
I currently work with the Penn Social Norms Group (PennSONG) on understanding the social patterns of latrine use in India. As part of this project, I develop survey materials, supervise data collection, and conduct social network analysis to better understand the flow of information about the benefits of better sanitation practices and the availability of resources for latrine construction.
I also teach Research Methods, Introductory Statistics and Data Science for Master’s students at the Master of Behavioral and Decision Science Program.
I received my PhD in Demography and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania. I also hold an MA in Statistics from the Wharton School.
Before coming to Penn, my main interests were historical demography and kin networks. I have been working in the field of historical demography since 2007 and have published several papers and book chapters about Moscow population. I also worked with medical statistics and consulted the government of Samara Oblast (Russia) on statistical support of federal health policies.
At Penn, my interests shifted to understanding the educational gradient in health and mortality, specifically at the intersection with the sociology of the family and social networks.
My hobbies are literature (especially modern poetry) and foreign languages. I am fluent in Russian, English, and French, have conversational knowledge of German, Dutch, Polish, Ukrainian, and Estonian, and am currently learning Chinese and Hindi.
Some photos of Moscow, my hometown.
WHAT THIS WEBSITE CONTAINS
I am starting this website partly because of the lockdown boredom and partly because of my dissatisfaction with the study materials that are available for demography students. Everyone wants to write a book they would love to read themselves, and I am no exception. There are multiple textbooks on demographic and statistical methods, yet every semester I hear my students complain that they get overwhelmed with the material and at the same time can’t find what they are looking for. I think a big part of the problem is that we are teaching methods “backwards”: we give students a cookbook and expect them to navigate it fluently from the very start. What I want to do is a problem-focused resource, where each formula and method is linked to a tangible problem.
I am a demographer by training, so I expect to post some random thoughts about demographic methods that might be useful to some, but I understand that statistical methods will probably be of more interest to most. We’ll see where this lockdown journey takes me.
Some random thoughts on formal demographic methods and my research interests
Mostly materials that I think my students will benefit from. Occasional rants about the misuse of methods.
This is a new class I am teaching, so we will see what it develops into.