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Cuihua (Cindy) Shen


  • Ph.D., Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, University of Southern California, 2010
  • MA, Communication and New Media, National University of Singapore, 2005
  • B.A., English Literature & Information Systems, Zhejiang University, 2003


Cuihua (Cindy) Shen has expertise in the implications and influence of emerging media and social networks. She studies social dynamics in digital games and other online communities, including social network sites such as Facebook and mass-collaboration sites such as Wikipedia. Methodologically, she uses large-scale data analysis along with survey and experimental research. She has won several Top Paper awards from the International Communication Association.

Research Focus

Professor Shen's research and teaching interests revolve around the structure and impact of social networks in virtual worlds. Her recent work has focused primarily on the patterns, effects and dynamic evolution of participants' social networks in Massively Multiplayer Online Games (EverQuest II, EVE Online, Chevaliers' Romance, and Dragon Nest) as well as other online communities designed for collaborative peer production, social support and entertainment. In her research she tries to match "big data" from online behavioral logs with "smaller data" collected from surveys and experiments. Cuihua is an affiliated researcher at Ninja Metrics.

Selected Publications


Cuihua Shen teaches subject matter related to emerging media and social networks.


  • Finalist, Herbert S. Dordick Dissertation Award, International Communication Association, 2011
  • Carolyn Dexter Award Nominee, "The Effects of Diversity and Repeat Collaboration on Performance in Distributed Nanoscientist Teams," Academy of Management Annual Meeting, Organizational Communication & Information Systems Division, 2010
  • Top Paper Award, "The Multilevel Impact of Aging: Age, Evolution, and Phase Change in the Child Rights NGO Network," International Communication Association Annual Convention, Organizational Communication Division, 2010
  • Top Paper Award, "Multimodality and interactivity: Connecting properties of serious games with learning outcomes," International Communication Association Annual Convention, Game Studies Division, 2009
  • Outstanding Overseas Chinese Student Award, Ministry of Education, People’s Republic of China, 2009