- Arts & Sciences Home
- Dean's Office
- Faculty & Staff
- Communication Home
- About Us
- Contact Us
Academic/professional background: Dr. Heintz joined the Communication Department faculty in 2007. Before coming to SCU, Dr. Heintz taught at the University of Illinois; the University of Washington; and the University of Southern Maine. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Studies from the University of California at Santa Barbara; her M.S. in Mass Communication from Boston University; and a Ph.D. in Communications Research from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Teaching areas/responsibilities: Prof. Heintz teaches a variety of media studies courses: Introduction to Mass Communication, Technology and Communication, Media and Youth, Media Audience Studies, and Media and Advocacy. She also teaches Quantitative Research Methods and directs a Senior Thesis seminar.
Dr. Heintz is interested in the role media play in all aspects of children's and adolescents' lives. She is a firm believer that media can be used to promote social justice and positive social change. Her teaching and research are motivated by the desire to understand and work towards creating a media system that serves all members of society, and promotes healthy and positive human development.
She studies the messages contained in popular media and how these messages influence youth's perceptions of themselves and the world around them. She also studies the media messages that impact youth's behavior, addressing topics like: the relationship between food marketing messages and food choices and childhood obesity; how sexualized imagery in video games and music videos can impact youth behavior; how soap operas can teach sexual responsibility; the relationship between diverse portrayals in television programming and youth's tolerance for people who are different from them; and how interactive technologies can promote early learning.
Dr. Heintz has worked with advocacy and non-profit organizations nationwide on projects aimed at improving the quality of media for children and youth. She works with television producers in L.A. and New York on best practices for creating content for children and youth; she testified before the Federal Communications Commission about broadcasters' obligations to provide high quality content for children; she participated in the White House Conference on Teens; and currently works with policy makers and activists on strategies for reducing junk food marketing to children. Her current projects include studying food and fitness messages in school environments, and food messages in parenting magazines and blogs.
Dr. Heintz conducts workshops for parents and youth professionals on issues related to youth and media.