Michelle Rodino-Colocino

Film Production and Media Studies, Media Studies

Michelle Rodino-Colocino

Associate Professor

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  • Critical and Cultural Studies of Media
  • Feminist Media Studies
  • Media and Activism
  • Work and New Media


  • Bachelor's: UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles)
  • Master's: Northwestern University
  • Ph.D.: University of Pittsburgh



An award-winning scholar, Dr. Michelle Rodino-Colocino (she/they) works as an associate professor of media studies in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications where they taught for the past 15 years and have worked with many wonderful colleagues and friends. I am also affiliate faculty in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and the Rock Ethics Institute in the College of Liberal Arts. I study relationships between media, labor, and social justice, and draw on over 30 years experience of organizing for a more just world.

Inspired at a young age to understand systems of exploitation where very few people with a lot of wealth and political power take advantage of other people, nations, and regions, I seek truth and justice in my creative work, activism, and organizing. Therefore, my research, teaching, service, activism, and creative endeavors span feminist media and critical cultural studies, with special interest in labor, new media, and social movements. Since earning tenure I have been learning critical race and ethnic studies, labor history, and trans and queer studies and am integrating this into my research, teaching, service, activism, and creative works. My intention is to contribute to social justice and work with mindfulness and empathy. I support an engaged scholarly community.

My co-edited book, The Gig Economy: Workers and Media in the Age of Convergence (Routledge) examines gig labor from a critical political economy of communications perspective. Co-edited with wonderful colleagues Brian Dolber, Chenjerai Kumanyika, and Todd Wolfson, The Gig Economy explores how media, technology, and labor are converging to create new modes of production, as well as new modes of resistance. Order with a 20% discount, code ESBAC, https://www.routledge.com/The-Gig-Economy-Workers-and-Media-in-the-Age-of-Convergence/Dolber-Rodino-Colocino-Kumanyika-Wolfson/p/book/9780367686222

By the numbers: In addition to The Gig Economy, I have published over 50 scholarly journal articles, book chapters, and essays in leading communications journals and outlets for public scholarship. I have taught 16 graduate and undergraduate courses and taught and mentored thousands of students. I taught for three years as assistant professor at the University of Cincinnati before coming to Penn State, and I thank my colleagues there for creating such a supportive environment
While at Penn State I have enjoyed intellectual and financial support in the in the Bellisario College and beyond for my ongoing research on labor and media. I thank colleagues in the interdisciplinary Humanities Institute (HI) for their feedback winter ("Spring" 2020) semester, during the first wave of the pandemic, when I worked on my co-edited book and on my book manuscript, Making Media Work: A Cultural History of New Media and Labor Management, an historical and contemporary critique of relationships between media and work. Thanks to support from the Bellisario College and Outreach Penn State, Philadelphia, I have been able to conduct research and engage in applied social justice work for three summers with app-based drivers like folks working for Uber and Lyft.

My research has been funded by the Smithsonian Institute, Wayne State University's Reuther Library, Penn State's Institute for Arts and Humanities (now Humanities Institute), and our own Bellisario College of Communications. In 2012, the Division of Critical and Cultural Studies of the National Communication Association honored my publication, “Geek Jeremiads: Speaking the Crisis of Job Loss by Opposing Offshored and H-1B Labor” (Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 9(1), 22-46, 2012), with the Article of the Year Award. I was awarded with the Deans' Excellence Award for Research and Creative Activity in 2014.

My articles have been published in such journals as Communication, Culture & Critique; Critical Studies in Media Communications; Democratic Communiqué; New Media & Society; and Feminist Media Studies, among others. I have presented my research at international, national, and local conferences conducted by the Association of Internet Researchers, Console-ing Passions, the International Communication Association, the National Communication Association, Schreyer Honors College, and the Union for Democratic Communications. I serve on the editorial boards of four peer reviewed scholarly journals: Ada: A Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology (also a founding member); ICA's Communication, Culture & Critique, as well as tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique, and Women's Studies in Communication.

A survivor of sexual assault and harassment, I also work with other survivors to stop it and the patriarchal political economic, cultural, and media system that produces and is reinforced by it. I advise the student organization Survivors and Allies United. My published research on media and labor and media and sexual harassment and assault informs my collaborative work in teaching, service, and activism on campus and beyond.

During this pandemic, my students and I appreciated the positive energy and safe spaces we created in our zoom classrooms. It is joy when we can inspire each other to learn more, to question, to create, to take action. We must remember that surviving is work. This is enough.

Known as "Dr. MRC" to students, I mentor present and former students by engaging with my graduate and undergraduate students as authors in academic articles, as research assistants, as teaching assistants, as members of the Penn State community engaged in efforts to end sexual harassment and assault, and as people I am honored and delighted to work with and know! Students appreciate the rigorous and supportive environments I work on creating in the classroom (zoom or "real"). I enjoy teaching in the Honors College as well as required courses like Political Economy of Communications (COMM405), Media and Society (COMM100), Cultural Aspects of Media (COMM411), Feminist Media Studies (graduate seminar), and I have been enjoying teaching some of our new courses in the Bellisario College including Introduction to Critical and Cultural Studies of Media (COMM305) and look forward to teaching our new capstone version of COMM411. I taught a Freshman Seminar that I designed, "Mindfulness for Media Studies Majors." When not in a pandemic, I try to hold at least one set of office hours at a time convenient to alum who return to visit.

A former organizer with WashTech, the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers/CWA Local 37083, I now serve as President of the Penn State chapter of the AAUP (American Association of University Professors). I work with my colleagues to boost equity and strengthen our voice as faculty and academic professionals across the Penn State system.

I served as Chair of the National Communication Association's Division of Critical and Cultural Studies, which became the NCA's largest division in 2016 under my leadership. I have also served as Steering Committee Chair for the Union for Democratic Communications (UDC). A survivor who believes that organizing against sexual harassment and assault is healing of self and others, I also helped found Survivors and Allies United (SAU), a Penn state student org dedicated to making Penn State a safe, equitable, and supportive place to study and work.

Inspired to apply criticism of systems oppression and share visions of a better –more socially just—future, I am a member of the improv comedy and sketch troupe It's Improv Baby and perform regularly on a variety of teams on Highwire Improv (subscribe to our YouTube channels). I have completed three years of training in improvisational theatre, stand up, comedy sketch writing, and freestyle rap so that I could make satirical media and apply insights from improvisational and comedic storytelling to research, teaching, and organizing. I have taken classes from the following theaters: Bird City Improv; Freestyle Love Supreme Academy; Highwire Improv; Impromiscuous; Magnet Theater; Second City (Chicago, Los Angeles, Toronto schools); The People's Improv Theater (The PIT), and Happy Valley Improv. Message/email me to find out latest show info or for my theatrical resumé.

For non-university business please email me at rocofem@gmail.com. To reach me by text or voice: (814) 777-6965.


In the News


  • The Gig Economy: Workers and Media in the Age of Convergence (due out May 31, 2021); co-edited with Brian Dolber, Chenjerai Kumanyika, Todd Wolfson.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M (2021, June ) A Pand(acad)emic Plea for Self-Care and Shorter Hours, Communication, Culture & Critique.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M (2019, April 30). “Uber’s $9billion IPO Rests on 80-Plus Hour Workweeks and a Lot of Waiting.” Salon. https://www.salon.com/2019/04/...
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2019). AltNCA Comes to UDC: How Should Academic Associations “Fight for Humanity”? Democratic Communiqué, 28(1), 63-64.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2018). “Flexing Italian American Masculinity and the Diversity of Whiteness on Man Caves.” Women’s Studies in Communication.
  • Antunovic, D. and M. Rodino-Colocino (2018). “‘Thank You Mom’: A Feminist Analysis of P&G's Global Advertising Campaign.” In Kimberly Golombisky and Kristi Reshel (Eds.), What’s the Big Idea? Feminist Perspectives on Advertising (30 pp). Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M., L. deCarvalho, and A., Heresco. (2018). “Retrofitting Neo-Orthodox Masculinities on Man Caves.” Television & New Media. DOI: 10.1177/1527476417709341
  • Rodino-Colocino, M., Beck, C., Braverman, S., Farley, E., Hamilton, M., Stump, E., & Weiss, C. (2018). “#ThisEndsHere: Ending Sexual Harassment and Assault at Penn State.” Communication, Culture and Critique.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2018). “Me too, #MeToo: Countering Cruelty with Empathy.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 15(1), 96-100.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2017). "Making Media Work: Turning to Labor Management in Communication Studies." International Journal of Communication, 11. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc....
  • Rodino-Colocino, M., Niesen, S. Noble, C. Quail (2017). Professors and (M)Others: Smashing the “Maternal Wall” in the Academy. In Kirsti Cole, Holly Hassel (Eds.), Surviving Sexism in Academia: Strategies for Feminist Leadership (pp. 15). New York, NY: Routledge.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2017). “Laboring Under the Digital Divide.” In Jianhua Yao (Ed.), Digital Labor in the Manufacturing and Service Industries. (pp. 43-70). The Commercial Press (in China).
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2016). Critical-Cultural Communication Activism Research Calls for Academic Solidarity. International Journal of Communication, 10, 10. http://ijoc.org/index.php/ijoc...
  • Rodino-Colocino, Michelle, and Stephanie N. Berberick. (2015, October). “‘You Kind of Have to Bite the Bullet and do Bitch Work’: How Internships Teach Students to Unthink Exploitation in Public Relations." tripleC: Communication, Capitalism & Critique. Open Access Journal for a Global Sustainable Information Society 13.2 (2015): 486-500.
  • Rodino-Colocino, Michelle. (2015, October). Feminism’ as Ideology: Sarah Palin’s Anti-Feminist Feminism and Ideology Critique.” In C. Fuchs and V. Mosco (Eds.), Marx and the Political Economy of Media, Boston, MA: Brill/Haymarket. Chapter 10. (Reprint of essay in tripleC: Communication, Capitalism, and Critique, 10(2), 457-473, Spring 2012. http://www.triple-c.at/index.p...
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2014). # YesAllWomen: Intersectional Mobilization Against Sexual Assault is Radical (Again). Feminist Media Studies, 14(6), 1090-1092.)
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2014). “The He-Cession: Why Feminists Should Rally for the End of White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy,” Feminist Media Studies, 14(2), 343-347.
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2013). “Communique 3.0 Working to ‘Change it." Democratic Communique, 26(1).
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2012). “Geek Jeremiads: Speaking the Crisis of Job Loss by Opposing Offshored and H-1B Labor.” Communication and Critical/Cultural Studies, 9(1), 22-46, http://www.tandfonline.com/doi..., M. (2012). (WInner of the Article of the Year Award, Critical-Cultural Sutides-NCA, 2012).
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2012). “Post-Welfare Mothers in Wi-Fi Zones: Dreams of (Im)mobile Privatization in a Neo-Post World.” Feminist Media Studies 12(4), 517-527, special issue on Women and Mobile Intimacy, Larissa Hjorth and Sun Sun Lim (Eds). http://www.tandfonline.com/doi... (Top Paper Award, Feminist and Women's Studies Division, NCA 2012).
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2012). “Participant Activism: Exploring a Methodology for Scholar-Activists.” Communication, Culture & Critique 5(4), 541-562. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com....
  • Rodino-Colocino, M. (2012). “Man Up, Woman Down: Mama Grizzlies and Anti-Feminist Feminism during the Year of the (Conservative) Woman and Beyond.” Women and Language, 35(1), 79-96special issue on Women and Electoral Politics, Mary Vavrus (Ed.). http://www.womenandlanguage.or....


Michelle Rodino-Colocino
124 Carnegie Building
814-777-6965 (you can text me here)