Krysten Stein

Krysten Nicole Stein

Adjunct Associate Professor

Professional Summary

Krysten Stein (she/her/hers) is a first-generation scholar, pursuing her Ph.D. in Communication and Media Studies with concentrations in Gender and Women’s Studies and Black Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her academic journey began with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication, accompanied by double minors in Psychology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, at the University of Cincinnati. She continued her educational pursuits with a Master of Arts in Communication and a graduate certificate in Film and Media Studies also at the University of Cincinnati.

Grounded in critical+cultural studies, her research delves into the realm of cultural production, representation, media industries, and political economy. She studies the complex interplay between identity, power, and media, and is interested in how certain groups are systematically marginalized and excluded from popular culture, both in television and on digital media platforms.

She is currently working on her dissertation, which centers on mental health practitioners’ experiences on TikTok, specifically exploring the influence of algorithmic power, the process of monetization, and identity performance in relation to gender, sexuality, race, and class. By immersing herself in these critical aspects, she seeks to uncover the meanings and implications of this popular form of entertainment in the context of a neoliberal era, characterized by soaring levels of stress, anxiety, and inadequate mental health care and resources.

She has published in journals such as Feminist Media Studies, Gender & Society, The International Journal of Communication, Queer Studies in Media & Popular Culture, The Popular Culture Studies Journal, and ACM CHI. Furthermore, she has presented her research at national and international conferences, showcasing her expertise and passion in the field. Feel free to visit her website to learn more.

In addition to her academic pursuits, she is also actively engaged in the field in various capacities. She serves as the Social Media Editor for Feminist Media Studies, is a UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry Fellow, and is a research assistant in the MeDem Lab under the guidance of Dr. Tanja Aitamurto. She also is a Global Member of The TikTok Cultures Research Network, and held the position of Student and Early Career Representative for ICA’s Popular Media and Culture division.

As an educator, Krysten embodies an innovative and critical pedagogical approach. She integrates theories and concepts into real-life contexts, fostering a deep excitement for learning and nurturing her students’ critical thinking and problem-solving skills. With over 10+ years of teaching experience, she has instructed a range of courses, including Effective Public Speaking, Business Communication, Interpersonal Communication, Introduction to Mass Communication, Communication & Popular Culture, Social Justice & Communication, Gender, Language & Communication, and Introduction to Cooperative Education.


Master of Arts: University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio, 2012 (Communication)

Bachelor of Arts: University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, Ohio, 2011 (Major: Communication Minors: Psychology, Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies )

Graduate Certificate: University of Cincinnati Cincinnati, 2016 (Film and Media Studies )

PhD: University of Illinois at Chicago Chicago, 2024 (Communication, Gender and Women's Studies, Black Studies)