Mariah (she/her/hers) is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah. She studies social media, influence(rs), and health communication.


    Mariah is a graduate student, yoga sculpt instructor, and NASM certified personal trainer. As a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Utah, she is interested in social media, influence(rs), and health communication. Her dissertation research explores how social media influencers build and maintain credibility as they share narratives of personal health and wellness. She has ongoing projects exploring Beachbody coaches' strategic use of positivity during the COVID-19 pandemic, analyzing political influencers' social media content leading up to the 2020 presidential election, and interviewing breast cancer "previvors" - women who are genetically predisposed to breast cancer - about how they use social media platforms to build community and share health information. She is a paid research assistant through the Department of Surgery and conducting a study with professors of surgery and law to explore the language use and preferences of those who have experienced stigma and discrimination related to opioid addiction, treatment, and recovery. Mariah has published work in New Media & SocietyJournal of Media Ethics, Rhetoric of Health & Medicine, and Social Media + Society.  

    Mariah has worked as the instructor of record for eight courses within the Department of Communication including Writing for Strategic Communication, Introduction to News Writing, Digital Journalism, Introduction to Photoshop, and Constructing Journalism. Constructing Journalism was designed and implemented while Mariah served as a University Teaching Assistant Fellow during the 2019-2020 academic year. 


    Mariah is currently located in Salt Lake City, Utah. She spends most of her time outside exploring the many parks and mountain trails near the city with her two-year-old retriever/collie mix, Wyatt. She is an avid yogi, teaching yoga sculpt classes at CorePower Yoga. She also enjoys spending time with her friends, perfecting her grandmother's chocolate chip cookie recipe (although they'll never taste as good), and traveling. Feel free to reach out at any time by email ( or connect on Twitter (@mariahlwellman).


    AUG 2018 - PRESENT

    Mariah is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. She instructs undergraduate courses in the digital media and journalism track and was a 2019-2020 University Teaching Assistant Fellow with the University of Utah Graduate College. 

    AUG 2016 - MAY 2018

    Mariah earned her M.A. in journalism and mass communication at the University of Iowa. She taught Introduction to Multimedia Storytelling, a co-requisite course alongside News Reporting and Writing. Students learned relevant software skills like Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, and Audacity, and hardware like Canon 60D cameras, H4N audio recorders, and LAV mics.

    NOV 2015 - MAR 2016

    For 1.5 years Mariah served as an arts/culture reporter for The Des Moines Register, the largest paper in the state of Iowa. She wrote features related to arts and culture, interviewing celebrities and musicians like Kristin Chenoweth and others. 

    JUL 2015 - NOV 2015


    Mariah spent 5 months in New York City in the editorial department at InStyle Magazine. While there, she worked under the features editor, published multiple online pieces, and helped put together large packages for the print magazine. Mariah also assisted the editor-in-chief and worked with the internship coordinator on various occasions. 




    The University of Utah

    Ph.D. candidate in communication at the University of Utah researching social media, influence(rs), and health communication.

    2018 / MAY

    The University of Iowa

    Master of Arts in journalism and mass communication. Research interests included social media, influencers, labor, and authenticity.

    GPA: 4.0

    2015 / DECEMBER

    Iowa State University

    Bachelor of Science in journalism and mass communication. Mariah earned a minor in apparel merchandising and a specialization in dietetics. GPA: 3.6. Cum Laude.