Zenan Chen, a.k.a Alan,
is a 4th year Ph.D. candidate in Information Systems. He cares about societal problems caused by technologies.
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At the University of Minnesota, he employs both empirical and analytical methods to study excessive social media usage, surveillance on students, platform economics, and broadband market, with his advisors Jason Chan and Soumya Sen.
Attendance Tracking Apps and Academic Performance: Evidence from a Field Study
— with Jason Chan, Yuan Sun
- Digital Intervention on Excessive Use of Social Media — with Jason Chan, Veronica Marotta
- Dynamics of User Preference in the Broadband Market: Implications on the pricing, provision, and coverage
— with Soumya Sen, Alok Gupta
- Platform Integration, First-party Advantage, and Third-party Content Creation
— with Soumya Sen
Draft available upon request
Methods & Skills
Alan is native to a wide range of machine learning & data analytics methods and tools, including Python, R, Stata, Mathematica, and many popular data science packages.
In his research, he mainly employs causal inferences methods such as Difference-in-Difference. Whenever possible, he likes designing randomized experiments to study causal effects. He also uses game theory and analytical models to help study abstract problems.
As a full-stack developer, Alan developed a Chrome Extension and a website to execute and manage one of his randomized field experiments using TypeScript.
He loves contributing to the open-source community. He helps fix bugs in data-science-related pakcages and develops open-source tools on Github.
He first taught Explorative & Predictive Analytics, a 4000 level undergraduate course, in Fall 2020. He always tries to engage with students and help students to think actively. He was welcomed by students, scoring 4.7/5 on RateMyProfessor and 5.23/6 in the official SRT.
Alan is also a long-time teaching assistant of the acclaimed Master of Business Analytics (MSBA) program at Carlson School of Management. He also gave a guest lecture on Natural Language Processing in an MBA class.
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A bit of History
In 1996, Alan was born in Guangzhou, a big city in southern China. He was admitted to The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shenzhen in 2014.
He started multiple ventures and side-projects during his undergrad years. He first founded the Photography Interest Club (P.I.C.) with three other founding members. At the same time, he co-founded Qianjian (“humble opinions” in Chinese), a website that promotes critical thinking and civil discussions by facilitating discussions on social issues online. As Qianjian became influential on the campus, he co-founded the Stay magazine, a student magazine that covers student life, career advice, social justice, and feminism.
He graduated in 2018 with a bachelor degree in Applied Economics. After that, he joined the Ph.D. program at Carlson School of Management @ UMN and moved to Minneapolis.
Alan enjoys art, design, skiing & snowboarding, road trips, and of course, photography and typesetting his own photo books. To him, street photography is an alternative lens to observe the world around him. He also takes portraits of his good friends.