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Mariah (she/her) is an expert scholar studying social media influencers and the wellness industry. She is an assistant professor in the College of Communication at Michigan State University. 

About Me

    Mariah is a researcher and scholar of advertising/PR, social media influencers, and the wellness industry. Her work research explores how social media influencers build and maintain credibility as they share narratives of personal health and wellness. She has ongoing projects exploring the intersections of wellness and politics, dissecting conceptualizations of authority and expertise in the influencer industry, 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 has published work in New Media & SocietyJournal of Media Ethics, Rhetoric of Health & Medicine, Feminist Media Studies, and Social Media + Society. Should you desire to reach out, feel free to email me ( or connect on Twitter (@mariahlwellman).


    AUG 2024 - Present

    Mariah is currently an assistant professor in the College of Communication at Michigan State University. She teaches undergraduate courses in Advertising and Public Relations.

    August 2022 - August 2024

    Previously, Mariah was an assistant professor of communication in the Department of Communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She taught undergraduate courses connected to her research areas including the rhetoric of wellness on social media and digital influencers.

    August 2018 - May 2022

    Mariah earned her Ph.D. from the Department of Communication at the University of Utah. She instructed 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. 

    August 2016 - May 2018

    Work Experience

    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.

    November 2015 - March 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. 



    2022 / May

    The University of Utah

    Doctor of Philosophy. in Communication at the University of Utah. Research interests included social media, influence(rs), and health.

    2018 / May

    The University of Iowa

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

    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.

    Cum Laude.

    Contact Me
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