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

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Natalie Pennington In The News

January 22, 2021
A Capitol Hill lawmaker is asking the director of the FBI to investigate whether Henderson-based Parler helped extremists plan and carry out the deadly attack in Washington, D.C., earlier this month.
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.

Articles Featuring Natalie Pennington

Campus News | February 3, 2021
A collection of news stories from the new year highlighting the experts and events at UNLV.
"I Voted" stickers
Campus News | January 5, 2021
A collection of stories highlighting UNLV experts and their analysis of all things politics in 2020.
medical worker in full protective suit making "LV" sign with hands
Business and Community | December 31, 2020
As the pandemic tightened its grip on Nevada, the nation, and the world, UNLV responded in ways big and small. Members of the media also turned to UNLV's faculty experts for answers.
Campus News | November 5, 2020
A collection of news stories highlighting UNLV’s commitment to community, health care, and research.