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

November 10, 2020
The president - and many of his supporters - say the election isn't over, but a majority of Americans say yes—his presidency is over.
November 10, 2020
You know the feeling: you're tapping through Instagram Stories when you land on a coworker's fiery political rant — one you wish you hadn't seen. You're in a long-standing text chat with your closest friends when someone shares a funny election meme. A minute later, another friend leaves the group without warning. You're swiping through a dating app when you spot an intriguing suitor. After a night of virtual flirting, you find yourself crushing by the glow of your phone screen — until they drop a bomb that explodes in your head. How could you possibly date someone who voted on that side? And, as the holidays approach, you're looking forward to your mom's delicious Thanksgiving spread, yet you cringe at the thought of what might come up over the family dinner table.
November 6, 2020
The nation continues to wait for Nevada's election results and some people have used memes as a way to show their angst and frustration.
November 3, 2020
Social media had a huge influence in the 2016 election.

Articles Featuring Natalie Pennington

Campus NewsNovember 5, 2020
A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV’s commitment to community, health care, and research.
ResearchOctober 14, 2020
UNLV social media expert Natalie Pennington explores the impact of politics and partisanship on online friendships.
ResearchSeptember 24, 2020
Communication in the digital space can make us closer or tear us apart.
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.