Natalie Pennington

Assistant Professor of Communication Studies
Expertise: Online Relationships, Communication Technology, Grief, Social Support, Interpersonal Communication


Natalie Pennington is an expert in interpersonal communication within the context of communication technology. An assistant professor of communication studies, she examines how private topics become public on social networking platforms and the resulting impact on relationships. Her research looks at how users of social media build and maintain relationships, the potential benefits and harms associated with technology use, and social support and grieving online. 

Pennington’s work has been published in several academic publications, including New Media & Society, Social Media + Society, Computers in Human Behavior, and the Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media.


  • Ph.D., University of Kansas, Communication Studies
  • M.A., Kansas State University, Communication Studies
  • B.S., Missouri State University, Communication Studies

Related Links

Natalie Pennington In The News

April 30, 2020
It’s easy to jump to the conclusion that online support groups don’t come close to the benefits that real-life therapy can offer, but that’s a misconception. In actuality, online grief support is not only a viable alternative to in-person groups, but in some ways, it can be better.
Shelter In Place Podcast
April 2, 2020
Social distancing has made us more reliant on social media than ever -- and also more susceptible to its pitfalls. Laura reflects on the changes in her own life around social media during this time.
Associations Now
March 27, 2020
As many people settle into new routines that severely limit their ability to see colleagues, friends, and family, they are hopping on social media hoping to revive some of those lost connections. However, one expert warns that if you’re not careful about how you use social media, you could end up feeling less connected and more depressed.
March 23, 2020
With calls from elected and health officials to self-isolate to prevent the spread of coronavirus, more and more people are turning to social media as their primary means of entertainment and connection with friends and the outside world.

Articles Featuring Natalie Pennington

Campus NewsApril 9, 2020
A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV’s response to COVID-19 and faculty experts who have helped the community make sense of the pandemic and its impact to daily life.
girl on computer with earbuds
Business and CommunityMarch 20, 2020
UNLV communication studies professor Natalie Pennington offers tips to preserve your mental health while protecting your physical health.
Campus NewsFebruary 18, 2020
A collection of news stories capturing the excitement and accomplishments of UNLV at the start of a new decade.
unlv professor arya udry looks at a meteorite that she's holding up to the light
ResearchDecember 26, 2019
A collection of stories featuring interesting discoveries driven by UNLV that have made news in 2019.