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Bazarova to support big-data research and data security as associate vice provost

Natalie Bazarova, M.S. ’05, Ph.D. ’09, professor of communication in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has been appointed to a one-year term as an associate vice provost in the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation (OVPRI), the office announced on August 21. Bazarova succeeds Maria Fitzpatrick, professor of economics and senior associate dean of academic affairs in the Cornell Jeb E. Brooks School of Public Policy, who is currently on sabbatical.

Bazarova will provide support across the OVPRI’s portfolio, with a particular focus on research centers working at intersections of social sciences and policy with data science, computing and applied math. Bazarova will also act as the point person for research data security and communication of research outcomes and research administration processes.

Bazarova’s own research focuses on social media and data privacy and considers a broad spectrum of online behaviors, technologies and communities towards the goals of designing new interventions and tools to promote digital literacy, well-being, online safety and civility.  

“Natalie will work with our Research and Innovation team to catalyze, coordinate and promote research and programs in the social sciences, humanities, and adjacent disciplines that rely on large data sets and expertise in math, computation and data analytics,” said Krystyn J. Van Vliet, vice president for research and innovation and professor of materials engineering in the College of Engineering. “These fields generate insights from intersections of human behavior and data, such as social media and population-wide health data. Such research can empower communities, transform our self-understanding, and inform society, including decision-makers. With that potential for impact entails great responsibility. Natalie understands the imperative of data privacy and other ethical considerations, as well as the practical challenges that faculty-led research teams encounter when meeting those academic responsibilities.”

“I am energized by the collaborative and forward-looking vision of the OVPRI team for supporting research excellence and innovation across disciplines,” Bazarova said. “I know first-hand the importance of a robust and responsive research ecosystem, and I look forward to enhancing this ecosystem for the Cornell community. I am also excited about fostering interdisciplinary collaborative endeavors and connections between basic and translational research activities.”

Bazarova earned her Ph.D. in Communication from Cornell in 2009. She directs the Cornell Social Media Lab and co-directs the new Digital and AI Literacy Initiative (DALI) to promote the public’s critical and informed engagement with social media and artificial intelligence technologies. She also co-founded and directs the Social Media TestDrive program, which has been incorporated into the Common Sense’s digital citizenship curriculum. More than 830,000 learners have used the program, which has been widely adopted by public schools in the United States and other countries.

Bazarova serves as one of three associate vice provosts in the OVPRI, alongside Paula Cohen, professor of genetics at the College of Veterinary Medicine, and Julia Thom-Levy, professor of physics in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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