Austin van Loon


Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

Current Position: Austin is a PhD Candidate in the Sociology Department at Stanford University. He studies affective polarization in the United States, organizational culture, and generally how the meanings of symbols (e.g. coronavirus, racial categories) organize human action. He uses a broad array of computational methods (e.g. text analysis, machine learning, and network analysis) as well as more traditional methods (e.g. experiments, web surveys, and causal inference). For more information on Austin and his research, feel free to check out his website

Honors Thesis Topic/Advisor: For his University of Iowa honors thesis, Austin performed an online experimental study to investigate the meanings and values associated with different sections of the University of Iowa marching band (e.g. percussion, trumpets, clarinets etc.) under the guidance of Professor Alison Bianchi. He specifically sought to understand whether meaning associated with these groups imbued them with status value in line with status construction theory.

Hobbies: When he’s not working on research, Austin likes to play and write music, cook (he used to work for the University, cooking for their catering services as well as for the now-closed restaurant Atlas as a line cook), and watch copious amounts of cable news.

Van Loon Photo
University of Iowa, Sociology 2016