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Emily Mendelson

Graduate Student


Emily is a doctoral student in the Department of Communication studying mediated relationships and health disparities. She is originally from Long Island, but spent  two years in Texas to complete her master's degree at Baylor University while coaching the Baylor University Debate Team. Emily uses critical theory to research romantic and sexual relationships, consent, disability, and displays of public intimacy online. Currently, she is also an affiliate with the Center for Information, Technology, and Public Life at the University of North Carolina Chapel-Hill. 

Research Interests

mediated relationships, health communication, sex communication, interpersonal communication, critical theory, technology

Research Description

Emily is interested in how people understand themselves within their interpersonal relationships. For example, how do mediated spaces catalyze sensemaking about how we behave within our sexual and romantic partnerships? How do we (re)construct norms of love and care? How do our online behaviors facilitate communication about relationships? Emily's research is motivated by these questions in the context of power dynamics, consent, and public presence online. Additionally, she utilizes critical theory to research health disparities, inaccessibility, and disability. 


M.A., Communication, Baylor University

B.S., Business Analytics, Binghamton University

Awards and Honors

Illinois Distinguished Fellowship, University of Illinois Graduate College

Courses Taught

CMN 111: Oral and Written Communication I

CMN 112: Oral and Written Communication II

CMN 210: Public Communication in Everyday Life

CMN 502: Health Communication Research Methods I

CMN 503: Health Communication Research Methods II

Highlighted Publications

Mendelson, E. A. (2023). Sensemaking and public intimacy on TikTok: How viral videos influence interpersonal relationships offline. New Media & Society, 14614448231163232.

Buttgereit, T., Mendelson, E., & Schatz, J.L. (2019). ‘Poisoning’ Masculinity: Poison Ivy as a Counter-Narrative of Villainy and Trauma through Representations of Queer Love in DC’s “Everyone Love’s Ivy.” Published November 2019 in Schatz, J. & Parson, S. (eds.) Superheroes and Masculinity. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.


Selected Public Writing:

Mendelson, E. (2023, April 27). Why do people cheat? Their reasons are often counterintuitive. Sex and Psychology.

Mendelson, E. (2023, March 22). The state of sex education in the USA in 2023. Sex and Psychology.

Mendelson, E. (2023, February 15). Speaking your partner’s “love language” might give your sex life a boost. Sex and Psychology.

Mendelson, E. (2023, February 2). How using OnlyFans affects people’s sex lives and relationships. Sex and Psychology.