For his groundbreaking research on social media and youth violence prevention, Assistant Professor Desmond U. Patton has received the 2018 Deborah K. Padgett Early Career Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR).

“This is truly a remarkable achievement,” said Interim Dean Irwin Garfinkel in an announcement to the faculty. “Witnessing the evolution of Desmond’s research over the last few years has been a pleasure, and I know that this is just the beginning of what will surely be continued recognition from the social work community as Desmond continues to grow his research here at CSSW.”

Dr. Patton is the director of the SAFE Lab at the Columbia School of Social Work, a research initiative focused on the ways in which youth of color navigate violence on- and offline. In collaboration with Gertrude Rothschild Professor of Computer Science Kathleen McKeown, he is currently performing a study of the ways in which social media activity can serve as a predictor of gang violence. He is also developing an online tool for detecting aggression in social media posts.

A faculty affiliate of the Social Intervention Group at CSSW as well as with the Data Science Institute, Dr. Patton was recently named a 2017–18 fellow at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. His work is one of a few CSSW projects selected for Columbia University’s first-ever crowd-funding campaigns. He has frequently been interviewed about his research and is often quoted in mainstream media.

Dr. Patton will formally receive the award at the annual SSWR Conference on January 14, 2018, in Washington, D.C.


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