Kelly Odenweller

Office:346 Carver
411 Morrill Rd
Ames IA
Courses Taught
Interpersonal Communication
Professional Communication
Research Areas
intergroup communication, family communication, gender communication
Ph.D., West Virginia University, 2015 (Department of Communication Studies)
Graduate Certificate, West Virginia University, 2014 (Center for Women’s and Gender Studies)
M.A., West Virginia University, 2011 (Department of Communication Studies)
B.A., University of Pittsburgh, 2004 (Major: Communication, Minor: Creative Writing)
My approach to teaching combines knowledge acquisition, skills building/application, and socialization. In all of the courses I teach, I focus on theories and research trends that are foundational to the Communication Studies discipline in general and/or the particular context of the course (e.g., workplaces, personal relationships, families). Additionally, I emphasize the skills necessary to be competent communicators and give students opportunities to practice these skills in their everyday interactions and relationships. Finally, I promote pro-social attitudes, values, and behaviors (e.g., empathy, acceptance, helpfulness) and encourage students to draw upon these principles when faced with difference in our social world.
How I Came to Communication Studies
I honestly think I came out of my mother’s womb wanting to be a social scientist. I have been asking questions and searching for answers about human communication and personal relationships since as long as I can remember. I have always been fascinated by the ways in which words and behaviors can inspire, support, and unite—while at the same time hurt, exclude, and discriminate against—people and groups. This duality continues to motivate me to research and teach others about the power and complexity of human communication.

My interest in my particular research areas has evolved through several academic and personal experiences. As an undergraduate in a rhetoric-focused Communication program lead by a group of strong female visionaries (namely Dr. Diane Nicodemus, Dr. Patricia Fulfs, and Dr. Aparna Hebbani), I learned I was a feminist who wanted to change (mis)perceptions and (mis)treatment of men and women. When I became a mother, I was fascinated by stereotypes and attitudes associated with men and women’s roles within the family. As a graduate student in a social science Communication Studies program, I enrolled in an intergroup communication course (taught by my fabulous Ph.D. advisor Dr. Christy Rittenour). I was amazed at how the theories and research trends in this subdiscipline provided compelling explanations for and practical solutions to gender (and other social) inequalities. The combination of these experiences has inspired me to contribute—through my research, teaching, and everyday interactions—to social change efforts aimed at reducing stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination among gender (and other social) groups.
Recent Publications
Odenweller, K. G., Booth-Butterfield, M., & Weber, K. (2014). Investigating helicopter parenting, family environments, and relational outcomes for Millennials. Communication Studies, 65, 407-425. doi:10.1080/10510974.2013.811434

Odenweller, K. G., Rittenour, C. E., Myers, S. A., & Brann, M. (2013). Father-son family communication patterns and gender ideologies: A modeling and compensation analysis. Journal of Family Communication, 13, 340-357. doi:10.1080/15267431.2013.823432
Current Research
My line of research applies an intergroup perspective to family and gender communication. I am primarily interested in how communication within and about families can socialize its members and foster social change for men and women. My master’s thesis quantitatively and qualitatively investigated the transmission of gender ideologies and memorable messages across three generations of father-son relationships. My doctoral dissertation experimentally tested the effects of stereotypes and social categorization on stay-at-home and working mothers’ communication. Additionally, I am interested in the effects of parents’ communication patterns and styles (e.g., conformity/conversation orientations, helicopter parenting) on children’s identity development and outgroup attitudes.
Outside the University
When I’m not teaching or conducting research, I’m spending time with my family. My husband and I have a son (6 years old) and daughter (2 years old) who keep us busy and laughing! We enjoy outdoor activities, reading books, and watching movies together.