Skip to main content
Faculty Bio

Jennifer Vardeman

Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies Program
Office: Communications Bldg, Room #147
Phone: 713-743-4294
Email: jvardema@central.uh.edu

Jennifer Vardeman, Ph.D., conducts research in public relations in the public health and healthcare field. Specifically, she investigates how people make decisions about healthcare options that are available to them, and how both interpersonal contact and mass media impact their decisions. Additionally, Dr. Vardeman conducts research in women’s health and decision-making and how it intersects with cultural structures at the community, familial, and individual levels. She also serves as the director of graduate studies at the Valenti School, where she oversees curriculum development, manages student recruitment and admissions, supports faculty, and drives strategic change for the program.
Dr. Vardeman has been in the public relations field for 20+ years, previously working for firms such as Weber-Shandwick (Houston, TX), Lois Paul & Partners, a Fleishman-Hilliard company (Austin, TX), and ICF International (Rockville, MD). Her clients over the years have varied greatly in size and industry from global giants like IBM Software, Motorola Semiconductors, and Compaq Computers, to local start-ups like Expeditrix and Tantau Software. In the public health sector, she conducted communication research and strategic planning for federal government agencies like the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Radiological Studies Branch, as well as local community health organizations and hospitals, like Baylor Teen Health Clinics, Texas Medical Center Health Policy Institute, and Houston Methodist Urogynecology Associates. She’s also provided communication work for public sector agencies and nonprofit organizations such as the American Red Cross, Department of Homeland Security’s Citizen Corps, and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs

Education

  • Ph.D. and M.A. in communication from the University of Maryland at College Park
  • B.S. in public relations from the University of Texas at Austin 

Teaching

  • Issues Management
  • Seminar in Crisis Communication
  • Public Relations Theory
  • Public Relations Management
  • Principles of Public Relations
  • Critical and Cultural Public Relations
  • Strategic Entrepreneurial Communication

Selected Publications 

  • Place, K., & Vardeman-Winter, J. (2018). Where are the women? An examination of the status of research on women and leadership in public relations. Public Relations Review, 44, 165-173.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J., & Place, K. (2017). Still a lily-white field of women: The state of workforce diversity in public relations practice and research. Public Relations Review, 43, 326-336.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2017). The framing of women and health disparities: A critical look at race, gender, and class from the perspectives of grassroots health communicators. Health Communication, 32, 629-638. DOI: 10.1080/10410236.2016.1160318
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2015). "Navigation and grounded communication: Grassroots strategies for public relations practitioners working with underserved communities." In R. Waters (Ed.), Public Relations in the Nonprofit Sector: Theory and Practice (pp. 124-140). Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communication Research series.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2014). Issues of representation, reflexivity, and research-participant relationships: Doing feminist cultural studies to improve health campaigns. Public Relations Inquiry, 3(1), 91-111.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J., Jiang, H., & Tindall, N. T. J. (2014). "'Mammography at age 40 to 49 saves lives, just not enough of them': Gendered political intersections in communicating breast cancer screening policy to publics." In C. Daymon & K. Demetrious (Eds.), Gender and public relations: Critical perspectives on voice, image and identity (pp. 221-246). New York: Routledge New Directions in Public Relations and Communication Research series.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J., Jiang, H., & Tindall, N. T. J. (2013). Information-seeking outcomes of representational, structural, and political intersectionality among health media consumers. Journal of Applied Communication Research, 41(4), 389-411.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. E. (2012). Medicalization and teen girls' bodies in the Gardasil cervical cancer vaccine campaign. Feminist Media Studies, 12(2), 281-304.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. (2011). Confronting Whiteness in public relations campaigns and research with women. Journal of Public Relations Research, 23(4), 412-441.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. & Tindall, N. T. J. (2011). Editorial: The current climate on publics segmentation research: Publics at a nexus of multiple identities and digitisation. PRism Journal, 8(2): http://www.prismjournal.org/homepage.html
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. & Tindall, N. T. J. (2010). "If it's a woman's issue, I pay attention to it": Gendered and intersectional complications in The Heart Truth media campaign. PRism 7(4), 1-15, http://www.prismjournal.org
  • Vardeman, J. E., & Aldoory, L. (2008). A qualitative study of how women make meaning of contradictory media messages about the risks of eating fish. Health Communication, 23, 282-291.

Honors

  • Participant. (2018-2019). Institute for Diverse Leadership in Mass Communication. Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
  • Teaching Excellence Award, Valenti School of Communication, 2017.
  • Class of 2017 Member. Cougar Chair’s Leadership Academy. University of Houston.
  • Vardeman-Winter, J. E. (2017). The University of Houston Women’s, Gender, & Sexuality Studies Program and the Friends of Women’s Studies’ Faculty Summer Stipend for 2017. The stipend funded a project titled, “Women’s perceptions of pelvic floor disorders communication."
  • Kopenhaver Center Fellow. Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver Center for the Advancement of Women in Communication, School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the Florida International University and the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication's Commission on the Status of Women.
  • Class of 2014 Member. Seventh annual Scripps Howard Academic Leadership Academy. Louisiana State University's Manship School of Mass Communication.
  • Arthur W. Page Legacy Scholar for the Arthur W. Page Center at Penn State University, 2013—2014, for a project titled, "Ethics and Health Public Relations."
  • Principal Investigator for a grant with the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs titled, "Affordable Multifamily Housing Primer," September, 2013 – August, 2014.
  • University of Houston's Women's Studies Program and the Friends of Women's Studies' Faculty Summer Stipend recipient for 2010. Funding for a project titled, "Identifying intersectionality within women's perceptions of the new screening guidelines for breast and cervical cancers."
  • Mary Gardner Award for Graduate Student Research by Commission on the Status of Women in the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication