Lauren Alfrey

Lauren Alfrey

Lauren worked as the Managing Editor of gnovis in 2009 and graduated with an MA in Communication, Culture and Technology from Georgetown University in 2010. Lauren is currently a doctoral student in the Sociology Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Lauren joined gnovis and CCT after working for three years as an online fundraising and advocacy consultant for progressive nonprofits in the San Francisco Bay Area. Prior to her professional work, Lauren graduated with honors from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, where she majored in Communication and minored in Art History with a focus on women's representation in print advertising and high art.

gnovis staff on break!


With finals complete and the New Year just around the corner, the gnovis staff is settling in for a long winter nap.

Please check back in mid-January for the return of regular content on the blog.

Until then, from our awkward family to yours…

Happy Holidays!

The gnovis staff (In order of appearance) Lydia, Trish, Akoto, Josh, Brian, Lauren, and Garrison

Stating your purpose: A six-step guide by an aspiring doctoral student

The statement of purpose, a universally dreaded element for prospective college and graduate students.  What is more daunting than writing an essay in which you’re expected to justify all your significant life choices and synthesize them into a cohesive narrative for an unknown audience?  And did I mention that you have one thousand words or less?

Visualizing CCT: Adventures with NodeXL

It’s been an ongoing joke between fellow gnovis blogger, Trish, and I that a semester full of stats and social network analysis has seduced me into post-positivism.  It’s true.  I’ve learned that I like to measure things.

But in all seriousness, quantitative naysayers out there should consider the benefits of visualizing data. On the one hand, charts, graphs, and indexes are limited by their simplicity, and can often hide nuances and complexities. On the other hand, these same tools can be quite powerful for illuminating patterns previously indiscernable among data sets.

Hey Baby, What’s Your Schemata?

A guy walks up to a girl in a bar and says: “Hey baby, what’s your schemata?”

I’m not a psychologist and I don’t play one on the internets, but I do find myself desperate for an empirical model to study the interaction between people and culture. Enter psychology. Psychologists have long used the theory of schema to understand the byzantine mental structures used by our brains to process information. And increasingly, social scientists are using schemata in their investigations of culture.

Yet settling on what we all mean by culture (which varies by discipline, by university, and by individual) can be tricky.


This morning I started reading the Jameson classic, Post-Modernism.  Five pages into the book —  one of ten on my summer academic reading list — I realized that among other things my list is far too ambitious for a mere three months already dotted with work, school, and an often sacrificed social life.

Spring 2009 Editor’s Note

In this issue of gnovis, the emphasis is on the social.

All five of our authors grappled with issues surrounding the social construction of technology. Their works investigate how the oft complex relationships between individuals and organizations can transform a technology and present unintended applications: whether with video games, Wikipedia, or the economy.