Forbush Awarded NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Forbush will receive three years of funding to conduct individual research.

By Ashton Yount

Eric Forbush, a first year doctoral student at the Annenberg School, was recently awarded a fellowship from the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP).

The GRFP is the oldest graduate fellowship of its kind, dating back to 1952. Past fellows have gone on to win Nobel Prizes, found Google, serve in U.S. government cabinet positions, and author best sellers.

As a GRFP Fellow, Forbush will receive three-years of funding to conduct individual research, as well as opportunities for international research and professional development. Out of over 13,000 applications this year, GRFP awarded fellowships to only 2,000 scholars.

Forbush plans to explore how the field of computational social science — utilizing computer modeling, social network analysis, and virtual simulations to understand social dynamics — might help address issues of segregation in communities. He plans to conduct ethnographic interviews and collect data from social networking sites to inform his creation of an agent-based model, allowing him to conduct virtual simulations to discover the conditions needed to increase diversity and decrease segregation.

This project fits right into Forbush’s broader research interests, which include intercultural communication, ethnicity and race in communication, and cross-cultural adaptation. His scholarship is interdisciplinary and draws from many fields, including computer science, communication, engineering, sociology, and psychology.

Forbush holds a B.A. in Communication Studies from Northeastern University in Boston. Originally from Burlington, Mass., Forbush has lived in cities across the U.S. as well as in Japan, China, and Taiwan.