Professor and Department Vice Chair

Jennifer Kam uses quantitative and qualitative methods to examine how stressors, rooted in structural barriers, are associated with the health and wellbeing of immigrant youth and their families. In addition, she conducts research to identify promotive factors at different levels (e.g., individual, interpersonal, community, institutional, cultural) that can contribute to resilience and thriving.


Dr. Jennifer Kam is Professor and Vice Chair in the Department of Communication at UCSB, and she is a Faculty Affiliate with the Chicano Studies Institute and the Migration Initiative at UCSB. She also currently directs the Division of Social Sciences Faculty Mentoring Program.

Dr. Kam has published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, most of which can be found in top communication, prevention, and adolescent journals such as Communication Monographs, Communication Research, Human Communication Research, Journal of Communication, Health Communication, Journal of Counseling Psychology, Prevention Science, and Journal of Research on Adolescence. In addition, she has presented over 60 papers at national and international conferences and has received 15 top paper awards. She is the former Chair of the Health Communication Division at the National Communication Association, and she received the 2016 Early Career Award from the Interpersonal Communication Division and the 2022 Promoting Equity and Inclusivity Award from the Health Communication Division. She also received a 2023 Presidential Citation from the National Communication Association--which is given to only a small number of communication scholars--for making the discipline more community- and culturally-centered. She is currently on the editorial boards of Journal of Communication, Human Communication Research, Communication Research, and Communication Monographs. Related to her research interests, Dr. Kam teaches undergraduate courses in risk communication, intercultural communication, and interpersonal communication. She teaches graduate seminars in health communication, risk communication, and interpersonal communication.


Ph.D. (2009) Pennsylvania State University, Department of Communication Arts and Sciences

M.A. (2004) San Diego State University, School of Communication

B.A. (2002) University of California, Davis, Communication and English Departments

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