By Henry Zimmerman
For Chelsea Reynolds, gender and sexuality has been an interest since she was a kid. But it wasn’t until an internship at Men’s Health that she knew she wanted to pursue the interest through academia.
When Reynolds, ’08, first came to Iowa State, she was interested in poetry and English. But after meeting with Deb Gibson, the Meredith Professional in Residence at Greenlee, she was persuaded to switch to journalism. The West Des Moines native wrote for the arts and culture beat at the Iowa State Daily, but didn’t feel it was her calling.
“I didn’t like the day-to-day newspaper routine,” said Reynolds.
She would eventually become the managing editor of Ethos magazine on campus, while also working as a Meredith apprentice for Midwest Living. After graduating, Reynolds continued working with Meredith as a keyworder in the digital library.
Shen then took the position at Men’s Health in Pennsylvania. It was here that her interest in gender and sexuality in the media would begin to become the focus of her work.
She befriended the sex editor, a position she was unaware existed before. She was interested in understanding how sexuality was represented in the media.
“I knew immediately that that was going to be my career from then on,” she said.
Reynolds left Men’s Health in 2009 and enrolled at the University of Missouri, where she received a master’s degree in journalism in 2012. She continued her research at the University of Minnesota, where she was awarded a PhD in mass communication in 2017.
After a short teaching stint at DePaul University in Chicago, Reynolds took a job in August as an assistant professor at California State University, Fullerton, where she teaches magazine writing and editing and media ethics.
Her research still focuses on media representations of sexuality and gender—topics she makes sure her students are aware of.
“All of my classes incorporate diversity as a first and foremost concern,” Reynolds said. Her advice to all students is to “be curious and generally culturally aware.” This, she says, is an important for lesson for everyone to learn in college.