Doctoral Student


A first-year Media Studies doctoral student, Leah Cates hopes to explore how mass media and popular culture affect, reflect, and subvert mainstream conceptions of gender and sexuality, especially for children and adolescents. One area of interest within the intersection of media and gender is the narratives family influencers on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok curate about their personal lives, and how these stories shape viewers’ beliefs about and expectations for pregnancy, parenthood, childhood, and domestic life.

Before coming to Rutgers, Cates worked as a journalist reporting on educational and economic justice for an alternative newspaper in Omaha, Nebraska, having previously served as editor-in-chief of Vassar College’s student newspaper.


Vassar College
BA, Women’s Studies