Organizing Committee

Social justice refers to fair relations between individuals and society, including issues such as equity, diversity, and inclusion. While the study of social justice historically has been rooted in the social sciences and humanities, mathematics and computation provide complementary and powerful approaches. Tools from dynamical systems, network science, applied topology, stochastic processes, data mining, and more have been applied to issues ranging from voting to hate speech.

This Hot Topics workshop seeks to promote new areas of research on quantitative approaches to social justice. We will bring together mathematical and computational scientists who are equipped with tools and methodologies that could be applied to social justice, as well as those who already have expertise with social justice work. We aim to showcase research at the intersection of mathematics, computing, and social justice, as well as build community among scientists interested in quantitative social justice research.

This workshop is fully funded by a Simons Foundation Targeted Grant to Institutes.

Application Deadline: February 19, 2021

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Confirmed Speakers & Participants

Talks will be presented virtually or in-person as indicated in the schedule below.

  • Speaker
  • Poster Presenter
  • Attendee
  • Virtual Attendee
  • Alejandro Aceves
    Southern Methodist University
  • Nathan Alexander
    Morehouse College
  • Elie Alhajjar
    US Military Academy
  • Manuchehr Aminian
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Elizabeth Arnold
    James Madison University
  • James Asare
    Washington State University
  • Drew Ash
    Albion College
  • Jayadev Athreya
    University of Washington
  • Riti Bahl
    Bard College
  • Jennifer Balakrishnan
    Boston University
  • Gino Biondini
    State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Ofek Birnholtz
    Bar-Ilan University
  • Amber Boyd
    Clark Atlanta University
  • Benjamin Braun
    University of Kentucky
  • Ron Buckmire
    Occidental College
  • Catherine Buell
    Fitchburg State University
  • Danielle Burton
    University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Nathaniel Bushek
    The College of St. Scholastica
  • Nathan Cahill
    Rochester Institute of Technology
  • Beth Campbell Hetrick
    Gettysburg College
  • Luis Carvalho
    Boston University
  • Anastasia Chavez
    University of California, Davis
  • Philip Chodrow
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Veronica Ciocanel
    Duke University
  • Sara Clifton
    St. Olaf College
  • Giorgio Cocomello
    Brown University
  • Kashyap Coimbatore Murali
    UC Berkeley
  • Cyrus Cousins
    Brown University
  • Charles Cowan
    Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
  • Elijah Cox
    Brigham Young University
  • Jennifer Crodelle
    Middlebury College
  • John Cullinan
    Bard College
  • Christopher Curtis
    San Diego State University
  • Maria D’Orsogna
    California State University, Northridge
  • Diana Davis
    Phillips Exeter Academy
  • Soumya Dey
    The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Chennai
  • Carrie Diaz Eaton
    Bates College
  • Cecilia Diniz Behn
    Colorado School of Mines
  • Moon Duchin
    Tufts University
  • Ranthony Edmonds
    The Ohio State University
  • Nicole Eikmeier
    Grinnell College
  • Bard Ermentrout
    University of Pittsburgh
  • Igor Erovenko
    UNC Greensboro
  • Ricardo Fariello
    Universidade Estadual de Montes Claros
  • Michelle Feng
  • Brendan Fong
    Topos Institute
  • Brooke Foucault Welles
    Northeastern University
  • Padi Fuster Aguilera
    Tulane University
  • Hitesh Gakhar
    The University of Oklahoma
  • Paola Garcia
    Ernst & Young
  • Justin Garrish
    Colorado School of Mines
  • Ellen Gasparovic
    Union College
  • Sommer Gentry
    United States Naval Academy
  • Chad Giusti
    University of Delaware
  • Keshlan (Kesh) Govinder
    University of KwaZulu-Natal
  • Adam Graham-Squire
    High Point University
  • Andrea Grimes Parker
    Georgia Tech
  • Gianluca Guadagni
    University of Virginia
  • Emily Gunawan
    University of Oklahoma
  • Robert Gurnee
    Cornell University
  • Shahrzad Haddadan
    Brown University
  • Jamie Haddock
    University of California, Los Angeles
  • Anna Haensch
    Tufts University
  • Maila Hallare
    Norfolk State University
  • Wesley Hamilton
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Amanda Harsy
    Lewis University
  • Alanna Haslam
    Boston University
  • Fengxiang He
    The University of Sydney
  • Greg Herschlag
    Duke University
  • Abbe Herzig
    American Mathematical Society
  • Alexander Hoover
    The University of Akron
  • Linh Huynh
    Case Western Reserve University
  • Sarah Iams
    Harvard University
  • Kenan Ince
    Westminster College
  • Cole Irwin
    University of Chicago
  • Behnaz Jafari
  • Joseph Johnson
    University of Michigan
  • Carter Johnson
    University of Utah
  • Christopher Jones
    University of North Carolina
  • Tulin Kaman
    University of Arkansas
  • Unchitta Kan
    George Mason University
  • Sung Ha Kang
    Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Jakini Kauba
    University of North Carolina - Greensboro
  • Brendan Kelly
  • Taylor Kessinger
    University of Pennsylvania
  • Lily Khadjavi
    Loyola Marymount University
  • Ruby Kim
    Duke University
  • Sandra Kingan
    Brooklyn College, CUNY
  • Molly Knoedler
    University of Auckland
  • Boyan Kostadinov
    New York City College of Technology, City University of New York
  • Kristin Kurianski
    California State University, Fullerton
  • Renaud Lambiotte
    University of Oxford
  • Kamila Larripa
    Humboldt State University
  • Grace Li
  • Yuke Li
    Westlake Institute for Advanced Study
  • Rayanne Luke
    University of Delaware (Newark, DE, US)
  • Bruce Mallory
    Boston University
  • Jonathan Mattingly
    Duke University
  • Mohd Salmi Md Noorani
    Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
  • K. Medlin
    University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
  • Ariana Mendible
    University of Washington
  • Brittney Miller
    Coe College
  • Eli Miller
    Williams College
  • George Mohler
  • Quinn Morris
    Appalachian State University
  • Cristina Mullican
    Lebanon Valley College
  • Adrian Muntean
    Karlstad University, Sweden
  • Gregg Musiker
    University of Minnesota
  • Kellen Myers
    Tusculum University
  • Ashwin Narayan
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Leonie Neuhäuser
    RWTH Aachen University
  • Yasumasa Nishiura
    Hokkaido University
  • Douglas Norton
    Villanova University
  • Alyssa Novelia
    University of Waterloo
  • Ezinne Nwankwo
    Duke Universrity
  • Andre Oliveira
    Wesleyan University
  • Omayra Ortega
    Sonoma State University
  • Katharine Ott
    Bates College
  • Nina Otter
  • Hadley Parum
    Bard College
  • Mirjeta Pasha
    Arizona State University
  • Tawana Petty
    Data for Black Lives
  • Emma Pierson
    Microsoft Research
  • harun pirim
    Mississippi State University, Industrial and Systems Engineering
  • Maia Powell
    University of California, Merced
  • Zhijun (George) Qiao
    University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
  • Alex John Quijano
    University of California Merced
  • Cameron Randle
    Clark Atlanta University
  • Margaret Regan
    Duke University
  • Sarah Reznikoff
    Kansas State University
  • Vanessa Rivera Quiñones
    Freelancer & Universidad Sagrado Corazón
  • Rachel Roca
    Manhattan College
  • Nancy Rodriguez
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Jerome Roehm
    University of Delaware
  • Amanda Ruiz
    University of San Diego
  • Nathan Ryan
    Bucknell University
  • Matt Salomone
    Bridgewater State University
  • Bjorn Sandstede
    Brown University
  • Rebecca Santorella
    Brown University
  • David Shmoys
    Cornell University
  • Anelise Shrout
    Bates College
  • Mary Silber
    University of Chicago
  • Suzanne Sindi
    University of California, Merced
  • Katherine Slyman
    University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Allen (AJ) Stewart
    Seattle University
  • Laura Taalman
    James Madison University
  • Shannon Talbott
    Moravian College
  • Joseph Tien
    The Ohio State University
  • Chad Topaz
    Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity
  • Madhusmita Tripathy
    Andhra University
  • Kimberly Turner
    Southern Illinois University
  • Victoria Uribe
    Arizona State University
  • Monica VanDieren
    Robert Morris University
  • Jennifer Vasquez
    University of Scranton
  • Marilyn Vazquez Landrove
    Ohio State University
  • Juan Pablo Vigneaux
  • Ritwika VPS
    University of California, Merced
  • Stefanie Wang
    Smith College
  • David White
    Denison University
  • Kirsten Wickelgren
    Duke University
  • Robin Wilson
    California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
  • Tian An Wong
    University of Michigan-Dearborn
  • Matthew Wright
    St. Olaf College
  • Weijun Xie
    Virginia Tech
  • Tarun Yadav
    Williams College
  • VISHAL Yadav
    University of Allahabad , India
  • Masanao Yajima
    Boston Universisty
  • Qing Ye
    Virginia Tech
  • Senay Yitbarek
    University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
  • Laurie Zack
    High Point University
  • Angela Zhou
    Cornell University
  • Lori Ziegelmeier
    Macalester College
  • Heather Zinn Brooks
    Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, CA, US)

Workshop Schedule

Monday, March 8, 2021
  • 10:00 - 10:15 am EST
    • Brendan Hassett, ICERM/Brown University
  • 10:15 - 11:15 am EST
    Seeing the Watched: The People Behind the Numbers
    • Speaker
    • Tawana Petty, Data for Black Lives
    • Session Chair
    • Nancy Rodriguez, University of Colorado at Boulder (Virtual)
    Black residents make up approximately 80% of Detroit, Michigan's population and earned a median household income under $35K per year, pre-pandemic. Since COVID-19, nearly half of the residents in Detroit have lost their jobs and nearly 2,000 residents have loss their lives. In 1965, Dr. King urged America not to prioritize "machines and computers, profit motives and property rights," over people, and warned that if it did, "the giant triplets of racism, materialism, and militarism were "incapable of being conquered." Detroit has invested millions of dollars in various forms of artificial intelligence and surveillance in the city since 2016. Will these investments lead to a better quality of life and safety for Detroiters, or are there other ways to think about innovation in the city? How can data and technology be leveraged to intervene in the looping cycle of injustice?
  • 11:15 am - 12:15 pm EST
    Network science social justice initiatives: the far right and covid-19
    • Speaker
    • Joseph Tien, The Ohio State University
    • Session Chair
    • Nancy Rodriguez, University of Colorado at Boulder (Virtual)
    The online far right ecosystem is heterogeneous, dynamic, and complex, as is the online ecosystem about covid-19. These two ecosystems are intimately intertwined. I will discuss some of the features of each together with their connections, viewed through the lens of network science and data science. In particular, I will discuss a "sentinel node" approach for examining online structure of the far right and covid ecosystems, and use this approach to examine how covid misinformation propagates within and between communities.
  • 12:15 - 1:15 pm EST
    Lunch/Free Time
  • 1:15 - 2:15 pm EST
    Analyzing Racial Equity and Bias of Federal Judges through Inferred Sentencing Records
    • Speaker
    • Veronica Ciocanel, Duke University
    • Session Chair
    • Chad Topaz, Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (Virtual)
    The US public has a constitutional right to access criminal trial proceedings. In practice, it is difficult to exercise this right as well as to quantitatively study federal sentencing disparities. We have assembled a public database of criminal sentence decisions made in federal district courts called JUSTFAIR: Judicial System Transparency through Federal Archive Inferred Records. This large-scale database links information about defendants with information about their federal crimes and sentences, and, crucially, with the identity of the sentencing judge. In this talk, we discuss challenges associated with assembling this database as well as preliminary work and observations from studying sentencing equity and patterns of individual judges.
  • 2:15 - 4:00 pm EST
    Networking and Coffee/ Tea Break
    Coffee Break - Virtual
  • 4:00 - 5:00 pm EST
    Starting Research in Social Justice
    Panel Discussion - Virtual
    • Session Chairs
    • Nancy Rodriguez, University of Colorado at Boulder (Virtual)
    • Chad Topaz, Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (Virtual)
    • Panelists
    • Manuchehr Aminian, California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Virtual)
    • Heather Brooks, Harvey Mudd College (Claremont, CA, US) (Virtual)
    • Catherine Buell, Fitchburg State University (Virtual)
    • Ranthony Edmonds, The Ohio State University (Virtual)
    • Greg Herschlag, Duke University (Virtual)
    • Kenan Ince, Westminster College (Virtual)
    • Unchitta Kan, George Mason University (Virtual)
    • Amanda Ruiz, University of San Diego (Virtual)
Tuesday, March 9, 2021
  • 10:00 - 10:30 am EST
    Coffee Break
  • 10:30 - 11:30 am EST
    Revising Equity and Inclusion in Science
    • Speakers
    • Carrie Eaton, Bates College
    • Anelise Shrout, Bates College
    • Session Chair
    • Nancy Rodriguez, University of Colorado at Boulder (Virtual)
    In this talk, we discuss our approach to looking at science and mathematics policy documents as public records of attitudes towards equity and inclusion in science education. In particular, we examine how such reports change over time - and what that says about how the revision process enhances or dilutes attention to equity and justice for STEM. We also invite broader collaboration to encompass a wider range of policy documents.
  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm EST
    Modeling the leaky pipeline in hierarchical professions
    • Speaker
    • Sara Clifton, St. Olaf College
    • Session Chair
    • Nancy Rodriguez, University of Colorado at Boulder (Virtual)
    Women constitute approximately 50% of the population and have been an active part of the U.S. workforce for over half a century. Yet women continue to be poorly represented in leadership positions within business, government, medical, and academic hierarchies. As of 2018, less than 5% of Fortune 500 chief executive officers are female, 20% of the U.S. Congress is female, and 34% of practicing physicians are female. The decreasing representation of women at increasing levels of power within hierarchical professions has been called the “leaky pipeline” effect, but the main cause of this phenomenon remains contentious. Using a mathematical model of gender dynamics within professional hierarchies and a new database of gender fractionation over time, we quantify the impact of the two major decision-makers in the ascension of people through hierarchies: those applying for promotion and those who grant promotion. We quantify the degree of homophily (self-seeking) and gender bias in a wide range of professional hierarchies and demonstrate that intervention may be required to reach gender parity in some fields. We also preview an in-progress effort to extend the model to quantify racial bias and homophily in professional hierarchies.
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm EST
    Lunch/Free Time
  • 1:30 - 2:30 pm EST
    Computing and the Future of the Voting Rights Act
    • Speaker
    • Moon Duchin, Tufts University
    • Session Chair
    • Veronica Ciocanel, Duke University (Virtual)
    The Voting Rights Act of 1965 requires that our electoral systems safeguard the opportunity for minority groups to elect candidates of choice. In over 55 years since its appearance on the scene, the VRA has been repeatedly refined and expanded, and a whole system of statistical methods has been built to support its enforcement. Today it's teetering on the edge of oblivion in the face of a turbocharged conservative Court. This might require adaptation and modernization, either to save or replace it. I'll describe two computational redistricting projects that look at futures for the VRA. Collaborators include Doug Spencer, Parker Rule, Gabe Schoenbach, Amy Becker, Dara Gold, and Sam Hirsch.
  • 2:30 - 3:30 pm EST
    Fairness in Redistricting
    • Speaker
    • Jonathan Mattingly, Duke University
    • Session Chair
    • Veronica Ciocanel, Duke University (Virtual)
    The US political system is built on representatives chosen by geographically localized regions. This presents the government with the problem of designing these districts. Every ten years, the US census counts the population and new political districts must be drawn. The practice of harnessing this administrative process for partisan political gain is often referred to as gerrymandering. How does one identify and understand gerrymandering? Can we really recognize gerrymandering when we see it? If one party wins over 50% of the vote, is it fair that it wins less than 50% of the seats? What do we mean by fair? How can math help illuminate these questions? How does the geopolitical geometry of the state (where which groups live and the shape of the state) inform these answers? For me, these questions began with an undergraduate research program project in 2013 and has led me to testify twice in two cases: Common Cause v. Rucho (that went to the US Supreme Court) and Common Cause v. Lewis. This work has partially resulted in the redrawing of the NC State Legislative district maps and NC congressional maps. The resulting new maps will be used in our upcoming 2020 elections. In the remedy phase of North Carolina v. Covington, Greg Herschlog from the Duke group addresses the question if attempts to satisfy the VRA alone explained the observed level political packing and cracking. This is a story of interaction between lawyer, mathematicians, and policy advocates. The legal discussion has been increasingly informed by the mathematical framework. And the mathematics has been pushed to better include to the policy. The back and forth has been important to find ways to effectively inform the policy makers and courts to the insite the analyses provide. The problem of understanding gerrymandering has also prompted the development of a number of new computational algorithms which come with new mathematical questions. The next round of redistricting analysis will necessarily need to be more refined and nuanced. There is also the opportunity to be less reactive. There are opportunities to try to influence the process by which new maps are drawn before turning to the courts. There is also the possibility to direct the conversation by showing the effect more fully considering factors such as communities of interest, incumbency or proposed procedural elements of laws. This presentation reflects joint work Gregory Herschlag and a number of other researchers including many undergraduates, graduate students, and a few high school students.
  • 3:30 - 4:30 pm EST
    Coffee Break
Wednesday, March 10, 2021
  • 10:00 - 10:30 am EST
    Coffee Break
  • 10:30 - 11:30 am EST
    Data science for social equality
    • Speaker
    • Emma Pierson, Microsoft Research
    • Session Chair
    • Chad Topaz, Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (Virtual)
    Our society remains profoundly unequal. This talk presents several vignettes about how data science and machine learning can be used to reduce inequality in healthcare and public health, focusing on applications in women's health, COVID-19, policing, and pain.
  • 11:30 am - 12:30 pm EST
    Community Wellness Informatics: Designing Technology for Health Equity
    • Speaker
    • Andrea Parker, Georgia Tech
    • Session Chair
    • Chad Topaz, Institute for the Quantitative Study of Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity (Virtual)
    In the United States, there are serious and persistent disparities in health outcomes. For example, socioeconomic status is predictive of mortality and disease, with low-SES households disproportionately experiencing the poorest health outcomes. This inequality is due in large part to the social determinants of health—social, physical, and economic conditions that make it more challenging to achieve wellness in low-SES communities. Disruptive innovations are sorely needed to reduce health disparities. Information and communication technologies (ICTs), with their growing ubiquity and ability to provide engaging, informative, and empowering experiences for people, present exciting opportunities for health equity research. This talk will overview a set of case studies demonstrating work the Wellness Technology Lab has done to design, build, and evaluate how novel interactive computing experiences can address issues of health equity. These case studies investigate how social, mobile, and civic technology can help low-SES communities to both cope with barriers to wellness and address these barriers directly. Using findings from this research, I will articulate opportunities and challenges for community wellness informatics—research that explores how ICTs can empower collectives to collaboratively pursue health and wellness goals.
  • 12:30 - 1:30 pm EST
    Lunch/Free Time
  • 1:30 - 2:30 pm EST
    Brainstorming in Topical Interest Groups
    Panel Discussion - Virtual

All event times are listed in ICERM local time in Providence, RI (Eastern Daylight Time / UTC-4).

All event times are listed in .