Renkai Ma

Renkai Ma

Mixed-methods HCI Researcher

Pennsylvania State University


👋 Hi! I am currently a Ph.D. candidate in Human-computer interaction (HCI) at Pennsylvania State University’s College of Information Sciences and Technology, under the guidance of Dr. Yubo Kou in the Health and Play Lab.

As a human-centered design and mixed-methods researcher, I focus on conceptualizing and enhancing trust and safety in digital environments. My work has focused on improving trust and safety on content creation platforms like TikTok, Instagram, YouTube, and Twitch, addressing the needs of content creators, moderators, and vulnerable populations. I aim to forge innovative solutions across theories, practices, designs, and policies that cultivate a secure, trustworthy digital environment.

  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Social Computing
  • Creator/content moderation
  • Content Creation (e.g., AI-generated content)
  • Children’s Online Safety


Qualitative methods
Quantitative methods, Data Science
Hiking, Skiing
Pet others’ dogs and cats
Music, Karaoke

Research Experience

Pennsylvania State University
Doctoral Researcher
Pennsylvania State University
August 2020 – July 2024 Pennsylvania
User Experience (UX) Research Intern
May 2023 – August 2023 California
UX Research Intern
May 2022 – August 2022 Remote
Syracuse University
Research Assistant
Syracuse University
March 2019 – April 2020 Syracuse


Child Safety Meets Creator Moderation
A project I lead to investigate how creators can collaborate with other stakeholders for child safety protection in (creator) moderation context.
Game Community Moderation
A project I facilitate with the PI, Dr. Yubo Kou to understand how esports gamers experience punishments issued by moderation systems, how they reason about moderation mechanisms, and how they adjust their future behaviors.
Creator Moderation
A project I lead to investigate how creators like YouTubers or influencers on Instagram or TikTok, while performing profitable content creation, experience creator moderation.