Heather Gahler

Graduate Teaching Associate
Ph.D. Candidate
Heather Gahler Pic

Office: Communication 111
Office Hours: Fall 2023 I Tues 9:30am-10:30am, Fri 1:00pm-2:00pm & by appt

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Heather Gahler is a PhD candidate and media effects scholar, working on the effects of social media on body image among diverse populations. She is interested in understanding how social media influences perceptions of body image among different racial/ethnic groups, among gender minorities, and within the LGBTQ+ community. She is interested in understanding how body size influences intergroup communication as well. In recent years, her research has focused on how Instagram influences body image differently depending on one's racial/ethnic group and the racial/ethnic group of one's followers. Her recent publications have appeared in Body Image, Computers in Human Behavior, and Psychology of Popular Media. Ms. Gahler has focused on cultivating critical thinking, active learning, and diverse viewpoints within the classroom. She has taught classes on children and media, the history of media effects, research methods, and public speaking, among others. 

Research Areas

Media effects, body image, and diverse groups


  • Master of Arts in Communication from University of Arizona
  • Bachelor's of Arts in Journalism and Public Relations from Westfaelische Hochschule
  • Bachelor's of Arts in Intercultural Public Relations from Juniata College