Tianyi Xu traveled across the globe to exercise her passion for meaningful research. She found her perfect fit at the University of Miami School of Communication.

Now completing her last semester, graduation marks the next step in advancing her passion for family and computer-mediated communication research.

Xu’s interest in bettering communication within families undergoing difficult circumstances grew from personal experience.

“I started wondering if family communication patterns acted as a buffer or something that could worsen people’s conditions during stressful events, for example, serious illness,” said Xu. “Specifically, I know that hiding the severity of illnesses is prevalent in Chinese culture, probably among some Asian cultures, but I am just interested in if it really benefits the whole family in certain cultures.” 

Equipped with double majors in communication studies and psychology, Xu also seeks to increase positive computer-mediated communication through research and, in response, minimize harmful online interactions.

Alongside her impressive academics, Xu’s collegiate career also embraces on-campus involvement, including the Chinese Students and Scholars Association (CSSA).

“As one who was raised in a collectivistic culture, living in the individualistic U.S. culture sometimes made me feel disconnected from my home,” said Xu. “Attending the CSSA enabled me to reconnect with my home culture and helped me cope with some cultural shocks.”

Outside of campus, Xu has expanded her classroom knowledge in the professional environment through internships with CCTV.com and the Chemical Industry Press in Beijing, China.

The rising researcher’s next chapter lies at the University of Southern California, where she will attend the Master of Science in Communication Data Science program.

“I am hoping to gain some knowledge about programming and other ‘hard sciences’ that will help conduct research and generate even more research questions in the field of computer-mediated communication,” said Xu.