Qiusi (Lyra) Sun

Lyra's research is about the social influence of new communication technology, especially the negative phenomena caused by technology affordances, such as online deviant behaviors, misinformation, and polarization.

We interviewed Qiusi (Lyra) Sun, a graduate student in the Department of Communication at UC Davis. In this interview, we asked Lyra to talk about her research, teaching, and a fun fact about her personal life. We should also point out that  Qiusi (Lyra) Sun is on the job market this year!

Can you tell us about project you recently completed or are working on that you are particularly excited about?

Lyra: My main focus in my Ph.D. journey is on online deviant behaviors, I was motivated by the basic questions “who, how, and why”, aiming to investigate the antecedents, effects, perpetrators, and victims of behaviors like trolling, toxicity, and incivility. My very first project with my advisor Dr. Cindy Shen, employed social network analysis to investigate how online communities and members react to trolls on YouTube. This project zoomed in on the victims of and coping strategies for trolling. Our work demonstrated that communities’ network structure and members’ network position played a crucial role in predicting individual level response to trolls. While on community level, group norms are important in developing trolling prevention and intervention mechanisms. Please check the paper at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2021.106786.

Would you share a memory about a time when you had a real impact on a student or had a big teaching accomplishment.

Lyra: I’ve TA-ed for various communication courses, and what I especially like is getting connected with students. I taught Communication Theories as assistant instructor during last summer session and I used a lot personal examples that students can relate to. I got very surprising student feedback that the class really helped them in their internships. By using what they learned from the class such as interpersonal communication and persuasion, they can strategically talk to customers face to face and on social media. A very shy and quiet student told me that she could related to my examples during her internship as a customer service representative and that helped her being clam and confident. When she came to me to share her experience, I could see her as a happier and more confident person, and I felt proud of her.  

What is a fun fact about you that other people might not know?

Lyra: In my free time, I like to spend some time with my two cats, watch documentaries, and read detective stories. One of my cats, named Mimi, is a ginger one who loves going outside and explore, so I often walk him. Che-che, another cat, is a black one who enjoys more quiet time with me when I read or work. My favorite writer is Agatha Christie. I love how her stories developed. During weekends, I like to bring a camera and go hiking with my friends.

Where can people learn more about your research?

Lyra: To learn more about me please check out my CV and GitHub.