Dr. Sarah Shugars (they/them) is an Assistant Professor at Rutgers University’s School of Communication and Information, Department of Communication. They previously worked as a Faculty Fellow at NYU’s Center for Data Science and as a research Fellow at George Washington University’s School of Media & Public Affairs where they collaborated on the “Twitter Healthy Conversations” project. Dr. Shugars received their PhD from Northeastern’s Network Science Institute.
A first-generation-to-college student, their research and teaching begins with the firm belief that the voice, perspectives, and experiences of every person have value and that all people have the capacity to improve the world for the better.
Specifically, their research focuses on political communication, social media, and computational communication; developing new methods for natural language processing, network analysis, and machine learning. Within this context, Dr. Shugars’ work extends along three interconnected themes: digital discourse, collaborative reasoning, and methodological validity.
The platforms, data, and methods of our modern computational world have fundamentally reshaped not only the ways in which citizens engage with their societies, but also the ways in which researchers can study such political behavior. Their work therefore blends substantive and methodological approaches to richly examine political life in the digital world. What motivates people to engage in online political conversations? What factors shape individual’s media and information environments? How can we better measure the ways in which people articulate their political beliefs and justify their conflicting beliefs to others?
Their work has been recognized with the John Sprague Best Paper Award (For “The Structure of Reasoning: Inferring Conceptual Networks from Text”) and with an Honorable Mention for the Thomas E. Patterson Best Dissertation Award in Political Communication (For “Reasoning Together: Network Methods for Political Talk and Normative Reasoning”). Additionally, their dedication to pro-actively building supportive, diverse communities was recognized in 2018 with the Northeastern Outstanding Graduate Student Award in Leadership.
View my full CV.