Freeman Award

Linton C. Freeman
Linton C. Freeman

The INSNA Freeman Award is given annually to a distinguished scholar in the field of social networks for significant contributions to the scientific study of social structure.

The award is designed to be given to a young scholar who is an INSNA member and in the earlier stages of their research career (i.e., someone under 40 years old or someone who has received their PhD within the past 10 years). Consideration is also given to persons who have come to education later in life or who have interrupted their career for any reason (family, health, etc.).

The award winner will be announced at INSNA’s Annual Sunbelt Meeting. The award recipient will give a plenary lecture at the following Sunbelt meeting; this plenary will review the work for which the award was given. Expenses for the conference will be part of the award.

Questions regarding nominations to Laura Koehly, INSNA President,  

2023 - Michele Barnes

Dr Barnes is pioneering the use of multilevel social-ecological networks in furthering understanding of environmental governance and human-nature interactions, and consequences thereof. Despite receiving her PhD only 8 years ago (2015) Dr. Barnes already published over 40 peer-reviewed journal articles in journals such as PNAS, Nature Climate Change, Nature Sustainability, and Social Networks. She already generated over 4500 citations with an h-index of 27. She has served INSNA on the Sunbelt 2022 Cairns Organizing Committee, and she has recently been elected member of INSNA board of directors.

2022 Winner - Peng Wang

Dr Peng Wang's research focuses on the methodology development for statistical models for social networks, including Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGM) for social selection processes, and Auto-logistic Actor Attribute Models (ALAAM) for social influence processes. Dr Wang is the designer and programmer for the PNet suite of software package for the statistical modelling of one-mode, two-mode, multiplex, multilevel networks, as well as the co-evolution of network structure and individual outcomes. Dr Wang has applied these models in the research fields of public health, education, management, social-ecological systems, interlocking directorates, public policy, and social network intervention evaluations.

2021 Winner - Christoph Stadtfeld

Christoph Stadtfeld is an Associate Professor of Social Networks at ETH Zürich in Switzerland. His empirical work investigates how social networks evolve over time and how individuals are affected by the emerging social structures that they are embedded in. The Swiss StudentLife Study that he conducted with his team from 2016 to 2020, for example, studies how friendship networks and social groups evolve among previously unacquainted university students, and how the emerging levels of social integration affect their well-being and academic success. He also develops statistical network models and computational methods to study social networks dynamics. Probably best-known in recent years is his work on actor-oriented models for relational event data (DyNAM) and corresponding open source software (the goldfish package in R).
Since 2014, Christoph has been leading a research group at ETH Zürich and in 2017 he co-founded the ETH Social Networks Lab. Prior to his appointment at ETH he was a doctoral student at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany (2008-2011) and held postdoctoral positions in Groningen, Lugano, and the MIT Media Lab (2011-2014). The Sunbelt conference in 2008 was Christoph’s first international conference, and until today the Sunbelt conference series is his all-time favorite.

2020 Winner - Abby E. Rudolph

Dr. Abby E. Rudolph is an Infectious Disease and Social Epidemiologist whose research incorporates social network and spatial approaches to better understand the independent and combined influence of individual, network (sociometric and egocentric), and environmental (built and social) factors on disease transmission dynamics, recruitment patterns, risk behaviors, and health service use among marginalized populations.  

She received her MPH from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health in 2007 and her PhD in Epidemiology from Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2011. Her dissertation evaluated respondent-driven sampling (RDS) with respect to its assumptions and the potential for biased measures. Since defending her dissertation, she has implemented and evaluated RDS studies conducted in a variety of different study populations and settings, including people who use drugs (PWUD), people who inject drugs (PWID), and men who have sex with men (MSM). She has also consulted on the analyses of several other projects that used RDS and other network-based recruitment strategies both domestically and internationally.

A link to Dr. Rudolph's CV is here:
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2019 Winner - Pavel Krivitsky

Pavel Krivitsky is a lecturer (Assistant/Associate Professor) in Statistics at Universityof Wollongong School of Mathematics and Applied Statistics and NationalInstitute for Applied Statistics Research Australia (NIASRA), Wollongong, NSW, Australia. He received his Ph.D. in Statistics from University of Washington in 2009 and worked as a Visiting Research Scientist and a Research Associate at Carnegie Mellon University and Penn State University before moving to Wollongong in July of 2013.

A link to Dr. Krivitsky's CV is here:
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2018 Winner - Kayla de la Haye

Kayla de la Haye is an Assistant Professor of Preventive Medicine at the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. She works to promote health and prevent disease by applying social network analysis and systems science to key public health issues.

Her research, funded by the National Institutes of Health, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Defense, targets family and community social networks to promote healthy eating and prevent childhood obesity. It also explores the role of social networks in group problem solving in families, teams, and coalitions.

Dr. de la Haye previously worked as an Associate Behavioral/Social Scientist at the RAND Corporation, and she is a current member of the Board of Directors of the International Network of Social Network Analysis (INSNA). In 2018, she received the INSNA Freeman Award for significant contributions to the study of social structure. She holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Adelaide, Australia.

A link to Dr. de la Haye's CV is here:
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2016 Winner - Zachary P. Neal

Zachary Neal, a 2009 Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Illinois Chicago, has been prolific and creative. He has written three books and 40 peer-reviewed articles, developing novel methods for analyzing two-mode network data, revealing significant observer and target predictors of accuracy in the perception of social network ties, and advancing the analysis of airport traffic networks. Zachary is perhaps best known for his work on city networks. In his lauded book "The Connected City" Zachary, in the words of Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, "uses the language of network science to unravel the mechanisms that govern a city's daily evolution and patterns of daily life" and according to Barry Wellman this book "takes away from old­-fashioned views of cities to show how they thrive through their networks ­between residents, businesses, and even between cities." He is currently an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University, with a joint appointment in the Psychology Department (Ecological–Community Program) and the Global Urban Studies Program. He also co-directs the Michigan School Program Information (MiSPI) project.

A link to Dr. Neal's CV is here:
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2014 Winner - Delia Baldassarri

Delia Baldassarri received dual Ph.Ds in Sociology from the University of Trento (2006) and Columbia University (2007). She has been a fellow at Nuffield College at the Oxford University, a visiting scholar at Russell Sage Foundation, and a visitor at Bocconi University in Milan. In 2007, Baldassarri became Assistant Professor at Princeton University, from which she received tenure in 2012; since then she has moved to New York University, where she holds the title of Associate Professor of Sociology (with additional appointments in the Department of Politics and the Stern School of Business). She is currently the author of one book, 13 peer-reviewed articles, and several chapters and reviews; her work has appeared in highly visible outlets across multiple disciplines, including the American Journal of Sociology, the American Sociological Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The significance of her work has been recognized by diverse array of groups, including the Italian Political Science Association, the American Society of Association Executives Foundation, the ASA Section on Collective Behavior and Social Movements, and the ASA Section on Mathematical Sociology (all of whom have honored her with publication awards).

Baldassarri's core contributions lie in advancing our understanding of how social networks structure political decision making, via a combination of formal modeling, field experiments, and survey-based research. Much of her work has dealt with the problem of attitude heterogeneity and polarization, and has served to shed light on the question of how influence processes can drive polarization on certain attitudinal dimensions even as it leaves high levels of heterogeneity on others. Baldassarri's experimental work in rural Uganda has provided intriguing evidence for the relationship of social position and group attachment with pro-social behavior, and for the role of centralization and legitimation on the effectiveness of sanctioning. Baldassarri has also studied phenomena such as integration within networks of civic associations, partisan polarization in voluntary group membership, and the networks of theme co-presence in media coverage of social movements. Throughout, Baldassarri's work shows a strong combination of empirical creativity and structural intuition, applied to important questions within the social sciences.

A link to Dr. Baldassarri's CV is here:
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2012 Winner – David R. Schaefer

David Schaefer received his PhD from the University of Arizona in 2006 and is currently (2013) an Associate Professor at Arizona State University in the School of Social and Family Dynamics. David has an impressive diversity of work and has published in several different areas. His papers exhibit originality in the questions addressed and their elaboration, and show excellence in executing and reporting the research. He has obtained several important grants. His research has two main strands, social exchange and influence in networks. He is interested in the role of social networks in the diffusion of information, norms, and influence, with outcomes related to delinquency, health, social capital, and inequality. He focuses on network dynamics and the forces that drive network evolution. His latest research considers how forms of exchange and the types of resources available to people impact the development of inequality, trust, and solidarity.

A link to Dr. Schaefer's CV is here:
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2010 Winner - Arnout van de Rijt

Arnout van de Rijt received his PhD from Cornell University in 2007 and is currently (2011) an Assistant Professor at SUNY Stony Brook. He has put together an outstanding record of publication in a very short time. He has made significant contributions to our understanding of the micro-macro linkages that are so important for network research across many substantive areas. Characteristic of his work is a talent for teasing new derivations out of classic social theories. The problems he picks to work on are important and the contributions he makes foundational.

A link to Dr. van de Rijt's CV is here:
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2008 Winner - Carter Butts

Carter Butts received his PhD at Carnegie Mellon in 2002 and is currently an Associate Professor at The Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences at the University of California, Irvine. His accomplishments include the Herbert A Simon Dissertation Award for "Spatial Models of Large-Scale Interpersonal Networks" and 37 publications.

"My research involves the application of formal (i.e., mathematical and computational) techniques to theoretical and methodological problems within the areas of social network analysis, mathematical sociology and methodological problems within the areas of social network analysis, mathematical sociology, quantitative methodology, and human judgment and decision making."
(Butts,, 2009)

2006 Winner - Garry Robins

Garry Robins's PhD was completed at the University of Melbourne in 1998, winning the 1999 Psychometric Society Dissertation Prize and the 2000 Distinguished Dissertation Award of the American Psychological Society (Division 5: Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics). In this work, Garry developed his interest in exponential random graph models, and he outlined a general framework for constructing models for social influence, social selection, exponential random graph models in discrete time and models for valued networks. Since completing his PhD, he has elaborated these possibilities further and developed increasingly more effective models within the general framework. He has also worked at both theoretical and empirical levels on the interface between social networks, the self, personality and mental health. His 24 peer-reviewed publications to date have included papers in the American Journal of Sociology, Psychometrika, Sociological Methodology, Social Networks, Journal of Mathematical Sociology and Personality and Social Psychology Review. Garry is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Melbourne.

"... Garry's contribution to the field of social network research has been systematic and substantial.”

2004 Winner - James Moody

"... He does innovative, high quality, rigorous social network research that is substantively meaningful. He publishes his work in the best journals and has done a lot in a relatively short period of time."

"... Jim is clearly an innovator in both social network methods and theory. He's developed new analysis techniques, he's been instrumental in the analysis & creation of new network datasets (Add Health, his email network data project), and he regularly contributes to the SNA community by offering his expert assistance to newcomers and veterans alike."

" ... Jim's research in social network analysis is first rate, and he is widely regarded as an expert in network analyses. He has already published widely in both network methods and applications, including multiple publications in the most prestigious outlets. Jim is also very widely regarded as an expert in network methods. ... he is routinely relied on for his expertise regarding many diverse aspects of network analysis.”

"... Jim Moody is an exceptional young scholar whose research interests focus on social networks. He has make methodological contributions to this field in studies focusing on adolescent behavior, health behavior and a range of related topics in the social sciences. He has already at an early stage in his career published widely and repeatedly in the top sociology and social science journals. He is also an excellent teacher, which I can attest to directly having visited his classes and observed and interacted with the many graduate students he his mentoring. In addition, he is an exceptional colleague and person. “

"... Jim Moody is the perfect scholar for this award. He has published a number of empirical articles on different kinds of social networks: disease transmission, sexual contacts, adolescent friendships, and biotechnology firms. In addition, he has contributed cutting edge methods to social network research, such as the identification of cohesive ridge structures and the use of dynamic network visualization. The breadth and depth of Jim's contribution is impressive, and especially when one considers his career has only just begun. Jim's work has already changed the field of network analysis, and his current work will likely bring network theory to the fore of social science research. I hope the field of social networks recognizes and rewards Jim's contributions so that he redoubles his scholarly efforts for years to come.”

2002 Winner – Devon D. Brewer

Devon D. Brewer received his PhD from University of California Irvine in 1994 and, quite fittingly, Lin Freeman was one of his co-chairs (the other was Kim Romney). Since his PhD, he has worked in academia (University of Washington in several capacities) and in the public sector (Public Health - Seattle, King County). In 2002 he started his own firm Interdisciplinary Scientific Research based in Seattle, Washington. His focus on network methodology, particularly the data collection side, has benefitted the research community greatly. He has published relevant and important articles in Social Networks and in Journal of Quantitative Anthropology. At the same time, he has worked with others in the public health arena with a focus on drug use and substance abuse issues.

A link to Dr. Brewer's CV is here:
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