Ashton M. Verdery
Mailroom: 203 Oswald Tower
I am a sociologist and demographer who uses computational and statistical methods to conduct research on social networks, asking questions about how and why people are socially connected to each other and the consequences of those connections. Within this broad area, I am especially interested in demographic processes, specifically how population dynamics shape family, kinship, and social networks and how those networks in turn affect health and other population processes.
Currently, much of my work focused on bereavement, looking at what happens to people after they lose loved ones. In past work, I have given special attention to migration and the network ties that migrants retain to origin areas after moving as well as the new ties they form in different destinations. I am also very interested in using social networks as a basis for sampling populations that are otherwise difficult to survey, including migrants, those at high risk of sexually transmitted or blood-borne infections, and opioid users. In this line of research, I am working on new ways to use and improve network based sampling methods, especially respondent-driven sampling.
Current Research Projects
I have several ongoing research collaborations. The biggest one right now examines how historical and projected population change affects family and kinship networks around the world. Related to this line of work is my scholarship on bereavement, where I seek to estimate the frequency with which people experience different types of family deaths in different contexts and the health ramifications of such experiences. In another line of research, I focus on transnational migrant networks and the effects of these on social incorporation. A third line of research is expanding tools for network sampling methods, especially respondent-driven sampling, where I am investigating new sampling protocols, new statistical estimators, and how to conduct multivariate analyses with such non-traditional data. This last line of work includes projects to better understand the heroin and opioid crisis in Pennsylvania and to eliminate racial disparities in kidney transplantation rates.