Alex Shpenev, PhD is a Senior Data Research Scientist at the Center for Social Norms and Behavioral Dynamics and an Associate Scholar of the Center for Global Health. Dr. Shpenev currently works with the Penn Social Norms Group (PennSONG) on understanding the social patterns of latrine use in India. As part of this project, he develops survey materials, supervises data collection, and conducts social network analysis to better understand the flow of information about the benefits of better sanitation practices and the availability of resources for latrine construction. He also teaches statistics and research methods for students in the Master of Behavioral and Decision Sciences Program. Before coming to Penn, his main interests were historical demography and social and kin networks. He has been working in the field of historical demography since 2007 and has published several papers and book chapters about the population of Moscow. At Penn, his interests shifted to understanding the educational gradient in health and mortality, specifically at the intersection with the sociology of the family and social networks.
Shpenev received his PhD in Demography and Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania, and his MA in Statistics from the Wharton School. His hobbies are literature (especially modern poetry) and foreign languages. He is fluent in Russian, English, and French, has conversational knowledge of German, Dutch, Polish, Ukrainian, and Estonian, and is currently learning Chinese and Hindi.