Huaman Sun

Huaman Sun

Graduate Student

  1. What is your area of research or expertise that you bring to the Landscapes collaboration?

I’m a second-year master’s student in the survey and data science program. I bring my knowledge in survey methodology, statistical methods and scientific programming to the Landscapes collaboration.

  1. What do you find challenging or exciting about interdisciplinary collaboration?

What I find most exciting about interdisciplinary collaboration is the synthesis of ideas from scholars in the different fields of study, which results in the creativity that is hardly produced by a team from similar background. I joined the Landscapes Lab as a research assistant on the data side. If not for this project, I might never have had the opportunity to investigate how residential racial segregation affects healthy aging from the perspectives of epidemiology and population health.

  1. What’s one common misconception about your area of research that you’d like to dispel?

Although survey research has been widely used as a tool to describe and understand society, few people know survey methodology as a discipline. We are a group of statisticians, psychologists, sociologists and data scientists who study the sources of error (the bias and variability) in surveys. We aim to improve the quality of survey data at each stage of data collection.

  1. How did you become interested in structural racism and health? 

Unlike many of my collaborators, I had little experience about structural racism before I worked on this project. Race is not at the top of public and academic agenda in my home country. It wasn’t until I I came to the U.S that I realized how significantly race could affect the trajectory of one’s life. As I dive deeper into our research, I become more and more interested in the relationship between social contexts and health disparities. I hope our work will ultimately benefit who are disadvantaged due to structural racism.

  1. What’s the academic path that brought you to where you are now?

I studied sociology and psychology when I was undergraduate. Given my interests in quantitative and computational methodology, I applied the survey and data science program at UM. I’m broadly interested in using digital trace data to investigate how online network dynamics affect offline life outcomes such as health (e.g., how the (mis)information diffusion in the social media influence individuals’ vaccination behaviors). I’m going to a doctoral program somewhere this fall. (Wish good news on my application!) I’ll continue my academic career as a computational social scientist in the future.

  1. If you had the opportunity to get one question answered by an omniscient being, what would you ask?(this is meant to be a lighthearted question–we’re trying to get to the heart of what you are most curious about, whether within your field of research or beyond! Feel free to think big!)

Well, since you are omniscient, what is the question I’m going to ask?

  1. Anything else you want to share?

I’m really happy to work with the Landscapes Lab! This is definitely an unforgettable experience in my life at UM.