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Department of Communication and Media

Melissa “Mish” Zimdars

Assistant Professor of Communication

Communication and Media

Dr. Zimdars’ research examines the global circulation of television programs and their interplay with media industries and communication policies. Currently, she looks at representations of fatness and discourses of weight-loss as connected to cultural understandings of the “obesity epidemic.” Her teaching areas of interest span critical media industry studies, television studies, global media, and new media.

Dr. Zimdars was previously an instructor of Communication Studies at the University of Iowa.  She is a member of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies and the National Communication Association.

When she’s not researching and teaching, Dr. Zimdars uses her textual and discourse analysis skills to work on, a project that navigates fake and otherwise misleading “news” websites.

Dr. Zimdars also has a radio show on Merrimack College’s station, WMCK, and spends a lot of time going to shows in the Boston area, listening to records, and eating fried foods that she should probably avoid.


Ph.D. Communication Studies (Media Studies), University of Iowa (2015)

M.A. Media Studies, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (2010)

B.A. Journalism and Political Science, University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee (2008)


  • Radio Production
  • Introduction to Mass Communication
  • Advanced Mass Communication
  • Media Industries
  • Global Media
  • Feminist Media Studies
  • Television Criticism
  • New Media and Digital Communication 

Professional Experience

Television Columnist for Little Village Mag

Board of Directors, KRUI, Iowa City


  • Zimdars is currently working on a book manuscript, Watching Our Weights: Televising Fatness in the “Obesity Epidemic,” and a co-edited anthology of essays entitled Fake News.
  • Her work has appeared in Television and New Media, Popular Communication: The International Journal of Media and Culture, Feminist Media Studies, and Flow.