Associate Professor Desmond Upton Patton’s research uses qualitative and computational data collection methods to examine the relationship between youth and gang violence and social media; how and why violence, grief, and identity are expressed on social media; and the real-world impact these expressions have on well-being for low-income youth of color. He studies the ways in which gang-involved youth conceptualize threats on social media, and the extent to which social media shapes and facilitates youth and gang violence.
Dr. Patton is the founding director of SAFElab, a member of the Data Science Institute, and a faculty affiliate of the Social Intervention Group (SIG). He holds a courtesy appointment in the department of Sociology. He is the recipient of the 2018 Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) and was named a 2017-2018 fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society.