Leona Yi-Fan Su

headshot of Leona Yi-Fan Su
Assistant Professor
121B Gregory Hall
  • PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Mass Communications)
  • MPA, University of Wisconsin-Madison (Public Affairs)
  • MS, National Taiwan University (Chemistry)
  • BS, National Chiao-Tung University (Applied Chemistry)
Course Specialties
  • ADV 490: Social media analytics*
  • ADV 492: Tech and advertising campaigns
  • ADV 581: Quantitative research methods in advertising*

* made the List of Teachers Ranked as Excellent by Their Students


Dr. Su is a faculty affiliate at the Institute of Communications Research, the Center for Digital Agriculture (CDA), and the Informatics Programs. She is on the editorial board of Environmental Communication and has served as a reviewer for the National Science Foundation (NSF) and more than 20 journals.

Su’s research examines the interplay between media and society, with a particular focus on how social media and new technologies influence human communication and social behaviors in the context of scientific and health topics. It has appeared in New Media & Society, Information, Communication & Society, Telematics and Informatics, Science Communication, Health Communication, Environmental Communication, and Science and Public Policy, among other peer-reviewed publications.


Su is currently a co-principal investigator on an NSF-funded project that examines the effectiveness of using humor for communication about science, particularly on social media. As a principal investigator, she is also leading a CDA project that computationally analyzes tweets about an emerging food technology, with the aim of understanding branding strategies and public opinion.

Research/Creative Endeavor

Su’s key research areas include studies on social norms, humor, incivility, social media, engagement metrics, virtual assistants, big data, machine learning, brand communication, science communication, health communication, and environmental communication.

Critical strands of her current work involve:

  1. Optimizing the use of digital tools to improve scientific literacy and debunk misinformation;
  2. Helping communicators design digital media tools and messages that will enhance public understanding of, and engagement with, science and health topics;
  3. Using text analytics to understand public opinion related to controversial or emerging science, technological, and health issues; and
  4. Using data-driven approaches to develop marketing strategies that will help brands and technology companies engage with consumers more effectively online.

Methodologically, Su’s research involves the use of surveys, experiments, and computational approaches such as large-scale text analytics.

She is enthusiastic about engaging in a range of interdisciplinary and collaborative research projects on science and health issues. She also enjoys collaborating with students, and encourages them to contact her if they are interested in learning more about her research or working with her on projects.

Select Publications
  • Lee, S.#, Yao, M., & Su, L. Y.-F. (forthcoming). Expressing unpopular opinion or trolling: Can dark personalities differentiate them? Telematics and Informatics, 63. doi: 10.1016/j.tele.2021.101645
  • Gong, Z.#, Su, L. Y.-F., Zhang, J. S.#, Chen, T.#, & Wang, Y.-C. (2022). Understanding the association between date labels and consumer-level food waste. Food Quality and Preference. 96. doi: 10.1016/j.foodqual.2021.104373
  • Su, L. Y.-F., McKasy, M., Cacciatore, M. A., Yeo, S. K., DeGrauw, A., & Zhang, S. J.# (2022). Generating science buzz: An examination of multidimensional engagement with humorous scientific messages on Twitter and Instagram. Science Communication, 44 (1), 30-59. doi: 10.1177/10755470211063902
  • Su, L. Y.-F., Scheufele, D. A., Brossard, D., & Xenos, M. A. (2021). Political and personality predispositions and topical contexts matter: Effects of uncivil comments on science news engagement intentions. New Media & Society, 23(5), 894-919. doi: 10.1177/1461444820904365
  • Yeo, S. K., Cacciatore, M. A., Su, L. Y.-F., McKasy, M., & O’Neill, L. (2021). Following science on social media: The effects of humor and source likability. Public Understanding of Science, 30(5), 552-569. doi:10.1177/0963662520986942
  • Yeo, S. K.*, Su, L. Y.-F.*, Cacciatore, M. A., McKasy, M., & Qian, S#. (2020). Predicting intentions to engage with scientific messages on Twitter: The roles of mirth and need for humor. Science Communication, 42(4), 481-507. doi: 10.1177/1075547020942512 (*equally contributed)
  •  Lee, T. K. & Su, L. Y.-F. (2020). When a personal HPV story on a blog influences perceived social norms: The roles of personal experience, framing, perceived similarity, and social media metrics. Health Communication, 35(4), 438-446. doi: 10.1080/10410236.2019.1567440
  • Yeo, S. K., Su, L. Y.-F., Scheufele, D. A., Brossard, D., Xenos, M. A., & Corley, E. A. (2019). The effect of comment moderation on perceived bias in science news. Information, Communication & Society, 22(1), 129-146. doi: 10.1080/1369118X.2017.1356861
  • Su, L. Y.-F., Xenos, M. A., Rose, K. M., Wirz, C. D., Scheufele, D. A., & Brossard, D. (2018). Uncivil and personal? Comparing patterns of incivility in comments on the Facebook pages of news outlets. New Media & Society, 20(10), 3678-3699. doi: 10.1177/1461444818757205
  • Su, L. Y.-F., Scheufele, D. A., Bell, L., Brossard, D., & Xenos, M. A. (2017). Information-sharing and community-building: Exploring the use of Twitter in science public relations. Science Communication, 39(5), 569-597. doi: 10.1177/1075547017734226
  • Su, L. Y.-F., Cacciatore, M. A., Liang, X., Brossard, D., Scheufele, D. A., & Xenos, M. A. (2017). Analyzing public sentiments online: Combining human- and computer-based content analysis. Information, Communication & Society, 20(3), 406-427. doi:10.1080/1369118X.2016.1182197
  • Spartz, J. T., Su, L. Y.-F., Griffin, R., Brossard, D., & Dunwoody, S. (2017). YouTube, social norms and perceived salience of climate change in the American mind. Environmental Communication, 11(1), 1-16. doi:10.1080/17524032.2015.1047887
  • Su, L. Y.-F., Cacciatore, M. A., Brossard, D., Corley, E. A., Scheufele, D. A., & Xenos, M. A. (2016). Attitudinal gaps: How experts and lay audiences form policy attitudes toward controversial science. Science and Public Policy, 43(2), 196-206. doi:10.1093/scipol/scv031
  • Su, L. Y.-F., Akin, H., Brossard, D., Scheufele, D., & Xenos, M. (2015). Science news consumption patterns and their implications for public understanding of science. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 92(3), 597-616. doi: 10.1177/1077699015586415
  • Su, L. Y.-F., Cacciatore, M. A., Scheufele, D. A., Brossard, D., & Xenos, M. (2014). Inequalities in scientific understanding: Differentiating between factual and perceived knowledge gaps. Science Communication, 36(3), 352-378. doi: 10.1177/1075547014529093

# a student author/co-author at the time of submission