Numbers and neighborhoods: A grad student puts the Chicago school of sociology on data overdrive

Sean Carr, AB’90
Photo Credit: 
Drew Reynolds

Strictly speaking, Forest Gregg, AB’04, AM’12 (Sociology), didn’t run away and join the circus. After earning his bachelor’s in sociology, he hit the road as part of a small troupe he’d formed with friends: Runaway Circus. They crossed the country in a vegetable oil–fueled bus performing for audiences of five people to 400, in bars, churches, parks, and at least one “radical intentional community.”

When the bus broke down, the circus broke up, so Gregg followed his biofuels interest, working as a research and systems designer at Frybrid in Seattle, ultimately penning the 2008 handbook SVO: Powering Your Vehicle with Straight Vegetable Oil (New Society Publishers). Since returning to the University in 2010 to pursue a doctorate in sociology, he has helped organize the Computational Social Science Workshop and the methods course Computing for Social Science. Gregg is also an owner of DataMade, a civic technology company focused on open data and open-source software to “make people more powerful.” 

What drew you back to sociology—mathematical sociology in particular?

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