Na Sun

UX &
HCI Researcher


About me

Na got her Ph.D. in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State University, under the supervision of Dr. Mary Beth Rosson in the Human Computer Interaction Lab. Her dissertation focus is online community building for distance learners in lieu of enhancing students' identity and ties visibility. In particular, she explored the social needs and practices to connect online students beyond class-encounters using visualizations. More generally, she is interested in social computing research that aims to enhance social connectedness and promote open education opportunities. In practice, Ms. Sun is also a leading practitioner for fostering a community that facilitates interdisciplinary collaborations: in Fall 2016, she served as the president of Innovation and Interdisciplinary Collaboration Community. She is also a member of IEEE, ACM SIGCHI, ISLS, IEEE Women in Engineering (WIE) and Computing Research Association-Women (CRA-W).

Before joining Penn State, Na Sun graduated from East China Normal University with a bachelor degree in computer science. She was employed as research intern at a non-profit organization CanAssist in Canada during her college years, and also worked as a research intern in a crowdsourcing project at the Research and Technology Center of Bosch. In the summer of 2017, she was a visiting scholar at INSA Lyon for an emotion-related research project, under the supervision of Prof. Elise Lavoue and Prof. Aurelien Tabard. In the past summer (2019), she worked at Airbnb as a full-time User Experience Research Intern.

Na has successfully defended her dissertation, and now is actively looking for a full-time position as a User Experience Researcher or a Data Scientist after her graduation with the PhD degree in informatics from Penn State (expected summer 2019).

Download her CV here.


My Research Projects


My Research Timeline

  • Aug 2013 - Aug 2019


    Pennsylvania State University

    State College, US

    Ph.D. Candidate

    Human Computer Interaction, Education Technology, Social Computing, Visual Analytics

  • Jun 21th 2019



    Lyon, France


    I presented a project on online students' use and perception of emoji in the context of peer-based design feedback activities.

  • May 8th 2019



    Glasgow, UK


    I presented part of my dissertation project that revealed online students' social needs and practices towards design implications for building online communities of distance learners. This work has earned a Honorable Mention Award for Best Paper (see the news covered here).

  • May 2018 - Aug 2018


    Airbnb Host Growth

    San Francisco, California

    User Experience Research Intern

    Motivate Airbnb users to consider unreviewed listings
    I used mixed research methods to uncover the factors that influence the bookability of unreviewed listings in Airbnb. Our research efforts involve a lot of cross-functional collaboration, and negotiations across different product groups. Our research findings drove immediate business impact, and informed product team's resource allocation in the next product cycle.

  • April 25th 2018



    Montreal, Canada


    I presented methods of developing and validating a scale to measure community feelings and capacity for distance learners.

  • May 2017 - Aug 2017



    Lyon, France

    Visiting scholar

    Design feedback in Emoviz
    To investigate the emotional needs and awareness of online learners, we used Emoviz, a PDF annotation tool that allows for comments in both text and emojis in a Human-Centered Design online class.

  • July 1st 2017



    Timisoara, Romania


    I presented our empirical work on Critical Thinker application in the context of collaborative argumentation.

  • Jun 24th 2017



    Philadelphia, US


    I presented part of dissertation project, an interpretive inquiry on instructors' community perception among online degree-seeking students.

  • May 2016 - Aug 2016


    Pittsburgh, US

    Research Intern

    I worked on a crowdsourcing project that leads to design and development of enterprise innovation dashboard.

  • Sept 2009 - Jun 2013


    East China Normal University

    Shanghai, China

    Bachelor of Sciences

    Computer Science, Computer Science Education


My Publications

  • Sun, N., Lavoué, E., Aritajati, C., Tabard, A. and Rosson, M. B. (2019) Using and Perceiving Emoji in Design Peer Feedback, in 13th international conference on Computer Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2019) , Lyon, France: International Society of the Learning Sciences.
  • Sun, N., Wang, X. and Rosson, M. B. (2019) How Do Distance Learners Connect?, in Proceedings of the 2019 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2019), Glasgow, Scotland UK
  • Sun, N., Rosson, M. B. and Carroll, J. M. (2018) Where is Community Among Online Learners?: Identity, Efficacy and Personal Ties, in Proceedings of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2018), Montreal QC, Canada
  • Sun, N. & Rosson, M. B. (2017). Finding the Community in Online Education: It’s in the Instructors’ Eyes. in Proceedings of the International Conference of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning (CSCL 2017), Philadelphia, PA, US
  • Sun, N. & Rosson, M. B. (2017). Connection Enablers in Online Learning Community: From Informative Online Personae to Meaningful Social Space. Extended Abstract. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work Companion (CSCW 2017), Portland, OR, USA
  • Sun, N. & Rosson, M. B. (2017). Enhancing Visibility of Distance Learners To Promote Community. Doctoral Abstract. in Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work Companion (CSCW 2017), Portland, OR, USA, Timisoara, Romania
  • Sun, N. (2016). Enhancing Visibility of Distance Learners To Promote Sense Of Community. in Proceedings of the 19th International Conference on Supporting Group Work (GROUP 2016), Sanibel Island, FL, USA
  • Sun, N., Chien-Wen Yuan, Rosson, M. B., Carroll J. M., & Wu, Y. (2017). Critical Thinking in Collaboration: Structure and Activity Awareness. Extended Abstract (Late Breaking Work), in Proceedings of the ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, Denver, CO, USA
  • Sun, N., Yuan, C. W., Rosson, M. B., Wu, Y. & Carroll J. M. (2017, July). Critical Thinker: Supporting Collaborative Argumentation with Structure and Awareness. in Proceedings of Advanced Learning Technologies IEEE 17th International Conference (ICALT 2017), Timisoara, Romania
  • Zhou, X. Y., Sun, N., Sherony, N. (2016). The Effect of Modality in Cross-valence Conditions. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the International Communication Association (ICA 2016). Fukuoka, Japan


Contact Me