Traci Gillig (PhD, 2019, University of Southern California) is an Assistant Professor of Communication. Her research interests are in the psychological and social factors influencing the well-being of youth, particularly those from marginalized groups. Her work includes examining the effects of interventions, media representations, and interpersonal relationships on youth, as well as the effects of mediated representations of marginalized groups on the attitudes of broader audiences. Recent projects have been published in leading journals such as Sex Roles, Human Communication Research, and the International Journal of Communication. Gillig’s research has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, and other major outlets.

Teaching is also central to Gillig’s professional life, and she views it as a privilege, striving to cultivate a classroom environment in which students feel known, respected, and able to share their unique perspectives.

Gillig’s professional background includes experience at the FDA Center for Tobacco Products and Edelman PR. A native Chicagoan, she’s enjoyed exploring the West Coast since relocating. In her free time, you can find her driving to the mountains in search of a challenging hike and a good view!


  • Health communication
  • Media effects
  • Gender
  • Social identity
  • Community-based participatory research


  • Gillig, T. K., Miller, L. C., & Cox, C. M. (2019). “She finally smiles…for real”: Reducing depressive symptoms and bolstering resilience through a camp intervention for LGBTQ youth. Journal of Homosexuality, 66(3), 368-388.
  • Gillig, T. K., Rosenthal, E. L., Murphy, S. T., & Folb, K. (2018). More than a media moment: The influence of televised storylines on viewers’ attitudes toward transgender people and policies. Sex Roles, 78(7-8), 515-527.
  • Gillig, T. K., & Murphy, S. T. (2016). Fostering support for LGBTQ youth?: The effects of a gay adolescent media portrayal on young viewers. International Journal of Communication, 10, 3828-3850.