Leah Dajches

Film Production, Media Studies

Leah Dajches

Postdoctoral Scholar


  • Bachelor's: University of Arizona
  • Master's: Indiana University
  • Ph.D.: University of Arizona



Leah Dajches (Ph.D., University of Arizona, 2022) is a postdoctoral scholar at Penn State working on the News Literacy Initiative. Her research examines popular culture and media as accessible, everyday contexts for empowering vulnerable populations (e.g., adolescents) and marginalized communities (e.g., LGBTQ+, BIPOC). More specifically, her work identifies forms of communication-related empowerment that demonstrate how individuals can engage with popular media in beneficial ways – namely, in relation to their mental and sexual health, identity processing/acceptance, civic/political engagement, and general social welfare. Leah’s work is multidisciplinary and multimethodological in nature and emphasizes the importance of public scholarship and community engagement as a critical factor in enacting individual and social change.

Her research has been published in top-tier journals such as Health Communication, Journal of Children and Media, Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, and Psychology of Popular Media, among others. At the University of Arizona, Leah taught a variety of courses including Introduction to Mass Media Effects, Survey of Mass Communication, and Gender and Communication. At Penn State University, Leah teaches courses such as Media & Democracy and Gender, Diversity and the Media.


Leah Dajches
Carnegie 011