Current Students:

Elena Krumova

Elena's current research is on the diffusion of temporary organizational forms and the expertise of facilitation in the public policy field. Once the domain of government experts, regional planning in the European Union today involves many organizations negotiating future plans. These policy networks meet and act in series of projects focused on particular regions. The research investigates the interplay between these short-term actions and the future-oriented visions that they are supposed to bring about, as well as the role of the project manager or facilitator in this process

Li-Wen Lin

Li-Wen's advisor is Josh Whitford, but she also works closely with David Stark. She is interested in comparative institutions of corporate governance. Her current research is to analyze the structure and management of large Chinese enterprises through the lens of organizational and individual networks. Her PhD dissertation constructs executive career pathways and networks to evaluate the corporate governance reforms of Chinese enterprises.   

Kinga Makovi

Kinga is a PhD student at the Sociology Department (2010 cohort). Her advisor is Peter Bearman, but she also works closely with David Stark. She is a member of COI and also RECENS, a Hungarian research group at Corvinus University in Budapest. She received an MS in Mathematical Economics in 2010. Her thesis considered a game theoretical model which directly incorporated network formation to analyze the inter-related dynamics of performance and the structure of positive ties in school settings. Her research focused on status competition and academic performance in high-schools related to the development of friendship and enemy networks. At Columbia she works on several different projects, which concentrate on causality and networks primarily in historical contexts: the slave trade, the East-India trade, and averted lynchings in the post-reconstruction Deep South.

Olivia Nicol

Olivia Nicol's primary interests are financial industries, risk and calculation, and qualitative methods. At present her main line of inquiry focuses on the economic crisis. Her dissertation focuses on attribution of responsibility for the crisis. She analyzes media excerpts, congressional hearings, and interviews to explore the production of - and response to - a discourse of accusation for the crisis.

Iva Petkova

Iva Petkova is a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University and is with the Management Division at Columbia Business School. Her research focuses on new digital branding platforms and tools in online fashion retail. She looks at the facilitating role of these enabling innovations in changing the cultural practice of fashion branding in new and old players. Iva holds an MA in International Economic Relations from the University of National and World Economy in Bulgaria; MSc in International Business with the School of Business at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden; and MA/MPhil in Sociology with Columbia University.   Iva utilizes her extensive fashion and digital marketing network and experience to draft strategic action plans for fashion brands in digital branding. Her current professional work is presented at international conferences and industry-specific events. Iva is active member of the Academy of Management, the American Sociological Association and reviews regularly for Socio-Economic Review and AOM. 

Joan Robinson

Joan H. Robinson is a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University (2010 cohort). Her advisor is David Stark, but she also works closely with Alondra Nelson. Her primary interests include interactions of law, STS, and gender. Joan is currently working on several projects related to home diagnostic devices, which lie at a variety of contentious intersections, such as science and law, medical information and personal privacy, and bodies and technology. Their histories and uses reveal aspects of the development of technology in relation to regulatory systems, as well as individual users and their relationships to their own identities, their families, the medical system, and the technology itself. Before coming to Columbia, Joan was a practicing attorney for five years, and she's thankful that this Department's generous faculty has eased her transition into a "practicing sociologist."

Sarah Sachs

Sarah Sachs is currently doing research on the relationship between structural position and patterns of participation in Brooklyn-based food cooperatives. She is particularly interested in utilizing network analysis to understand the structure of member labor over time and then bringing in ethnographic analysis to understand how structural change relates to the experience of member participation. Sarah holds a BA from the University of California, Davis and an MIA from the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs. Prior to entering the PhD program, Sarah enjoyed a career in the dot-com industry and spent the past four years at Google, as a product specialist for a web-based enterprise platform.

Mathijs de Vaan

Mathijs de Vaan is a PhD candidate in sociology at Columbia University. He is interested in creative teams and studies how the social and cognitive histories of team members result in innovative and commercially succesful products. By employing large datasets and by creating new methodologies to study these data he aims to to provide a detailed analysis of the origins of creativity in teams. His prior research entailed a PhD project at the department of economic geography, Utrecht University in the Netherlands. His research dealt with the dynamics of interfirm networks and its effect on the rise and fall of the firm population in the global video game industry. In the project he answers questions on how firms within an industry are connected, how these connections come into place and how they affect competitive outcomes. In 2006, prior to his enrollment in the PhD program in economic geography, he graduated from Utrecht University with a MSc. in Economics. During this program he was a visiting student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver.

Recent Students:

Ana Andjelic

Ana works as a Digital Strategist for Droga5 in NYC. In the past, she worked at across NYC digital marketing industry, at digital shops like HUGE, Inc., Razorfish, The Barbarian Group, and AKQA. Ana often writes about digital marketing for Ad Age, and shares her thoughts on her blog, I [love] marketing. She was also one of the authors of "Strategic Management in the Media Industry," published by Edgar Elgar. Most recently, Ana presented at the Hyperisland Masterclass, CATFOA Speaker Series, and Miami Ad School. She was also one of the judges deciding on the new standers for the mobile and display advertising formats for Interactive Advertising Bureau. Ana holds a Ph.D. in Sociology from New School University, where she wrote a dissertation on digital branding. 

Victor P. Corona

Victor P. Corona is a sociologist and postdoctoral fellow at the Polytechnic Institute of New York University. His current research examines how pop culture personas connect to publics in unprecedented ways and thereby provide a locus for the production of consumers' fragile and fluid identities. Victor received his Ph.D. in sociology at Columbia, a certificate in organizational performance management at Georgetown, and a B.A. in sociology at Yale. Prior to joining NYU, he was a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology at Columbia, where he taught courses on organizations, culture, and social media.

Lucas Graves

Lucas Graves is a PhD candidate in Communications at Columbia University. His dissertation, The Fact Checkers: Annotative Journalism and the New Ecology of News, studies the fact-checking movement in American journalism. The project uses participant observation, coupled with content analysis and historical research, to examine a set of emergent practices which have coalesced into a reform movement reaching to the center of the elite news media. The largest question this research tries to address is this: How has the Internet — not as a technological force, but as a complex of affordances rendered meaningful by new practices, beliefs, and organizations — transformed journalistic work and the world of news production? Lucas has worked as a technology and media analyst with various research firms and is a longtime magazine journalist, on the masthead of Wired magazine. Lucas holds an MA in Communications and an MS in Journalism from Columbiaʹs J‐School, and a BA in Political Science from the University of Chicago.

John Kelly

John Kelly is the founder and lead scientist of Morningside Analytics. His research blends Social Network Analysis, content analysis, and statistics to solve the problem of making complex online networks visible and understandable. John has a Ph.D. from Columbia University, and has studied communications at Stanford and at Oxford's Internet Institute. He is an Affiliate of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University.

Steven Mandis

Steven Mandis is a Ph.D. student and an honorary Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow in the Department of Sociology at Columbia University. He is focused on economic sociology, organizational innovation and entrepreneurship. He is interested in the competitive, environmental, individual, organizational and regulatory elements that lead to a organization's success and failure. In addition, he is an adjunct associate professor at Columbia University Business School. He received an A.B. with Honors from The University of Chicago and a M.A. from Columbia University.

Aharon Cohen Mohliver

Aharon's advisor was Bruce Kogut but he worked closely with David Stark on his dissertation research. Aharon's dissertation focused on processes that make illegitimate, and often illegal practices legitimized in financial markets. His dissertation titled “Legitimized Unethicallity: the divergence of Norms and Laws in Financial Markets” is comprised of three chapters. The first examines how in Israel, and economy that is characterized by high concentration of ownership, mutual funds often invest to the detriment of their clients in highly priced IPOs if those are affiliated with their business group. This effect is not only confined to investments made within a group, the chapter shows strong evidence of reciprocity among business groups, creating systematic over-pricing of IPOs that are generated from business groups and a systematic misallocation of resources from independent IPOs to ones affiliated with a business group. His second and third dissertation chapters examine a different dataset of unethical practices and looks at the diffusion and adoption of stock option backdating among executives in the United States. These chapters show that the diffusion of backdating depends heavily on the physical and temporal distance of focal organizations from their infected peers. The papers demonstrate the concept of private legitimacy, wherein powerful legitimizing actors such as external auditors spread backdating among their clients for a decade while keeping it hidden from outsiders. Aharon is now an Assistant Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School and advises the Israeli Securities Authority and various other committees.

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen is Research Fellow at the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford and Assistant Professor of Communications at Roskilde University in Denmark. His work is focused on political campaigns, the role of digital technologies in politics and news media, and changes in the international media business. The underlying common theme is an interest in the ways in which ordinary people are enabled to play an active role in democratic politics--as activists, as media users, and as more or less informed citizens. His most recent book is Ground Wars: Personalized Communication in Political Campaigns (Princeton, 2012). He has also edited, with David Levy, The Changing Business of Journalism and its Implications for Democracy (Oxford, 2010) and published in journals including New Media and Society, Journalism, and Journal of Information Technology and Politics.

Pilar Opazo

Pilar Opazo is a Ph.D. Candidate in Sociology at Columbia University. Currently, Pilar is working on her dissertation “Organizing innovation and transformation: El Bulli's transition from restaurant to foundation.” This project examines organizational reinvention, change and innovation by studying the case of “El Bulli.” El Bulli is a well-known avant-garde restaurant that recently closed its doors to transform itself into a non-profit center of creativity -- "El Bulli Foundation." Her research uses ethnographic techniques to examine the dynamics involved in the restaurant's transition towards a new organizational form. Pilar's published works include two co-authored books, Communications of Organizations (2007) and Negotiation (2006) and a recently published article in Sociological Theory entitled ‘Order at the Edge of Chaos.' During 2008 and 2009, she conducted ethnographic and network-analytic research at “Citilab” a center of social innovation located in Barcelona. 

Matthias Thiemann

Mattthias's advisor is Tom DiPrete, but he also works closely with David Stark. He is interested in the contested framing of organizational boundaries and the social externalities arising there from. Concretely he is investigating the different trajectories of the demarcation of banking conglomerates in accounting and prudential regulation in three European countries as these directly influenced the magnitude of the financial crisis in these nations.

Zsuzsanna Vargha

Zsuzsanna's advisor was Gil Eyal but she also worked closely with David Stark. Zsuzsanna's doctoral research focused on the interactional basis of markets, looking at technologies banks used to design personalized mass banking in pre-crisis Hungary: Customer Relationship Management software and hand-drawn demonstrations of financial products. Previously Zsuzsanna studied creative intermediaries: post-socialist ad professionals' debates on what constitutes good advertising. After her PhD Zsuzsanna was Postdoctoral Fellow at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies. Zsuzsanna's current research interests are the financial advising relationship, the emergence of consumer "risk preference", and the feedback loops between accounting information systems and high-level financial regulation.

Past Students:

Daniel Beunza, London School of Economics
Pablo Boczkowski, Northwestern University
Andrew Buck, University of Southern Indiana
Amanda Damarin, Georgia Perimeter College
Laura Forlano, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago
Gregory Jackson, Frei Universitaat, Berlin
Victoria Johnson, University of Michigan
Szabolcs Kemeny, McKinsey & Company
Paul-Brian McInerney, University of Illinois-Chicago
Sophie Muetzel, Science Center, Berlin
Tsutomu Nakano, School of Business, Aoyama Gakuin University, Tokyo
Gina Neff, University of Washington
Balazs Vedres, Central European University, Budapest
Fernanda Wanderley, University de San Andres, Buenos Aires