A Short Bio
California State University Northridge, Northridge, CA
Master of Arts in English Rhetoric and Composition
University California Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
Bachelor of Arts in English
Los Angeles Valley College, Van Nuys, CA
Associate of Science in Mathematics
Research Assistant, UCSB/UM/CSUN English Dept. Digital Humanities
July 2018 - Aug. 2020
Co-Founder, Cryptocurrency Investment Club of Los Angeles
Jan. 2018 - Present
CICOFLA.com, a nonprofit, is currently under development.
Research Assistant, UCLA English Dept. Digital Humanities
Founder and President, Linux Public Broadcasting Network
Jan. 2000 - May 2008
Prior Work Experience includes 7 years as a computer network systems integrator for fortune 500 companies, banks and universities throughout California and 4 years employment at Jet Propulsion Laboratories as a prototype machinist.
Letter of Reference from UCSB Distinguished Professor Alan Liu Ph.D.
A Letter of Reference (more letters avaliable upon request)
UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA, SANTA BARBARA
BERKELEY - DAVIS - IRVINE - LOS ANGELES – MERCED - RIVERSIDE - SAN DIEGO - SAN FRANCISCO
SANTA BARBARA - SANTA CRUZ
DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH
SANTA BARBARA, CALIFORNIA 93106-3170
(805) 893-7488 / FAX: (805) 893-4622
September 1, 2020
To Whom It May Concern:
I am delighted to offer an extremely strong recommendation for Raymond Steding. During 2018 to 2020, Ray worked as a research assistant for the WhatEvery1Says (WE1S) project that I directed as
Principal Investigator (https://we1s.ucsb.edu/). Funded by a $1.1 million grant from the Andrew W.
Mellon Foundation, WE1S is a big-data initiative whose researchers across three universities (UC
Santa Barbara, California State U. at Northridge, and U. Miami) collected millions of journalistic
articles and social media posts discussing the “humanities,” and then used computational machine
learning methods (especially “topic modeling,” but also other kinds of text analysis) to discover
patterns in the public perception of the humanities.
During the project, Ray applied his past expertise as a computer network engineer combined with his training as a humanities M.A. student to advance our work in substantial ways. Over this period,Ray collaborated on our research team focused on “Broadcast, Internet, & Political Media” and alsoanother team researching public and academic discussion of the so-called “Humanities Crisis” (the
devaluation of humanities programs, student majors, and funding in contemporary society after the
Great Recession of 2008-2012).
Ray’s unique contribution to our project was outstanding. While the majority of our research
focused on collecting newspaper articles from 1989 to 2019 and using machine learning to
understand patterns in them, a subset of our teams also collected millions of social media posts from
Twitter and Reddit. Ray led our Reddit initiative by developing methods for scraping text from
large runs of Reddit posts and analyzing the results. This yielded some of our richest research
material because Reddit often contains the unvarnished thoughts of students and others about the
relevance of the humanities. Ray curated for us specific research collections (e.g., one collection of
121,452 Reddit posts mentioning the humanities with word counts greater than 225; and another
one of 11,266 Reddit posts also mentioning “first-generation” students). And he used topic
modeling – a method of unsupervised machine learning that discovers the “topics” and their
proportions in a large body of texts, together with which documents are most associated with those
topics – to analyze the results. An example of one of his findings is reported in his “Key Finding”
card KF-6-7 (published on the WE1S web site) with the headline, “Students and others on Reddit
see not the “humanities crisis” (the forest) but critical problems and issues (the trees).”
Particularly impressive is the way that Ray not only developed social-media research methods and ways to apply them, but also expanded his work in the direction of extended writings about the
methodology involved. I emphasize in particular a substantial post that he published on our WE1S
Research Blog in 2019 titled “A Digital Humanities Study of Reddit Student Discourse about the
Humanities” (https://we1s.ucsb.edu/research_post/a-digital-humanities-study-of-reddit-student-discourse-about-the-humanities/). He was also co-author of a related post in our Research Blog
titled “A Summer 2018 Saga: Webscraping for Subcorpora” (https://we1s.ucsb.edu/research_post/a-summer-2018-saga-webscraping-for-subcorpora/), which in part also reported on the tools and
methods he developed to scrape text from the Web.
Generalizing about Ray based on his work for WE1S, I would foreground three attributes about
him. First, he is able to take the initiative on any task and pursue it to completion in a sustained,
intense way (and often also in imaginative ways that develop additional outcomes from the task).
Second, he has a high level of technical expertise (see his amazing résumé) combined with a
general-purpose skillset of interpretive methods and critical thinking earned from his humanities
training. And, third, he is a wonderful collaborator. Indeed, on this latter score, he was universally
esteemed by all our project faculty and other RAs (we had about 30 RAs at any one time) as one of
the people whose professional companionship we enjoyed the most. Ray was one of our favorite
team members—a sentiment that I can personally attest to as project director.
Distinguished Professor, Department of English, UC Santa Barbara;
Principal Investigator, WE1S Project
(original confidential letter available on Interfolio.com)