Complexity Explorer Santa Fe Institute


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13 Dec 2022
Humanities Education Dynamical Systems

Register Now for FAHA 2023

Foundations & Applications of Humanities Analytics begins January 17

Register now and read on to meet FAHA Course TA Steph Buongiorno

We are thrilled to welcome back Steph Buongiorno as Teaching Assistant for the Foundations and Applications of Humanities Analytics course.

Steph Buongiorno is a doctoral candidate in the Applied Science department at Southern Methodist University’s Lyle School of Engineering. She builds data sets and computational tools for data analytics in the humanities and across the information and social sciences. Steph has applied her skills to a diverse set of problems including human trafficking, global urbanization, housing affordability, and political discourse.

1. Tell us about your research interests and your current work.

I am lucky because my research has taken me to many different worlds! I have performed research in the digital humanities where I have written code that addresses conceptual problems (for example, how can ‘action’ and ‘agency’ be measured in political discourse) and produced new data sets and tools for researchers in the humanities. I’ve also worked with more technical researchers who are interested in social or humanistic issues and how we can work together to ensure that social issues are represented in a meaningful way within the research process.

2. What is your favorite thing about being part of the Complexity Explorer community?

I was introduced to the Complexity Explorer community in summer of 2022 when I taught the in-person Foundations and Applications of Humanities Analytics workshop. I had the honor of working with intellectuals from many different backgrounds, and I learned from them just as much as I hope they learned from my workshop sessions! My favorite thing about this community is the collaborative, intellectual challenge of coming together to write code that addresses many different complex and philosophical problems in a meaningful way.

3. When you are not working or coding, what other activities do you enjoy?

I love to be connected to the ‘hidden’ places in the natural world. For me, this often looks like SCUBA diving anywhere from Texas lakes to beautiful reefs (to look for critters among reefs and rocks), or SCUBA diving wrecks and caves where I can explore complex underground networks.

4. Any words of advice for students interested in pursuing digital humanities work?

One reason the digital humanities is so exciting is because it is a humanistic, analytical field that encourages experimentation and collaboration across disciplines (e.g. the humanities and the sciences). Digital humanities work breaks down silos while encouraging invention and creativity. Therefore, my advice to anyone interested in the field is to first, have fun experimenting with how your specialization can innovate upon humanist inquiry or enhance the sciences. Think big, be open to possibility, and be accepting of road bumps or false-starts along the way. I would also encourage students to connect with researchers who have different backgrounds than their own and to share insight with one another on the different ways problem solving can be approached.


Applications are open for our in-person SFI Education programs!

To learn more, check out our program offerings here. Any questions? Contact education@santafe.edu


Complexity Explorer Journal Club

Basins of Attraction with Yuanzhao Zhang

Check out our new Journal Club with SFI Postdoctoral Fellow Yuanzhao Zhang! Journal club segments provide a summary of a recent publication chosen or authored by a member of the Santa Fe Institute's research community in the broad area of complex systems. Stay tuned for more journal club content coming soon.


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