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Rivera, Ph.D.

Kendra Dyanne Rivera, Ph.D. (2011)

Associate Professor of Communication

Phone:  (760) 750-8044
Office: SBSB 2108

Complete CV

Kendra Dyanne Rivera, PhD is an applied organizational communication scholar who is interested in the communication of identities, emotion and wellness in organizational settings.  She received her PhD in Human Communication from the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University, and her MA in Communication from San Diego State University. She joined the Communication Department at California State University San Marcos in 2011. She is an affiliated scholar with the Project for Wellness and Work-life, and has worked with a variety of community partners such as health clinics and domestic violence shelters. Her research focuses on the ways that communication can both shape and reflect health and wellness, with an emphasis in exploring stress, emotion, stigma, and resilience. In particular, her work seeks to provide opportunities for at-risk populations, at the identity intersections of gender, race, socio-economic status and health. Dr. Rivera uses a variety of qualitative methodologies in her research as well as the classroom, including participatory action research, ethnography, in-depth interviewing, visual ethnography, and performance. Past and current work includes research at a domestic violence shelter, a community health clinic, the U.S. Border Patrol, a university and an evangelical church. Dr. Rivera’s research on “How to Bust the Office Bully” is a resource for organizations and targets of bullying around the world. In a recent publication in the maternal and early childhood journal Zero to Three, Dr. Rivera and her co-author Dr. Kimberly D’Anna Hernandez (Psychology, CSUSM) offer healthcare providers tips for providing culturally relevant communication based on their research with pregnant Mexican and Mexican-American women at a community health clinic. 

In other publications, Dr. Rivera draws from the two and a half years she spent “shadowing” and interviewing U.S. Border Patrol Agents and discusses the role of emotion, stress, and stigma for organizational members.  Her work reaches scholarly audiences while also seeking to provide practical suggestions that can lead to more productive and just organizations, as well as more healthy employees and patients. Her dedication to making scholarship applicable in everyday life is also evident in her teaching philosophy.  “My goal in teaching,” says Dr. Rivera, “is to empower students with the knowledge that communication theory provides, so that students communicate effectively and improve their world.” Dr. Rivera is also the faculty advisor for the Communication Society, the networking and philanthropic student organization for the department. If you’re interested in learning more, visit our website at:

Courses Taught:

  • COMM 100 Introduction to Communication (large-lecture format)
  • COMM 310 Small Group Communication
  • COMM 330 Intercultural Communication (Face-to-Face and Hybrid)
  • COMM 350 Organizational Communication Ethics
  • COMM 390 Research Methods (Service Learning)
  • COMM 435 Communication & Gender
  • COMM 440 Organizational Communication (Face-to-Face, Hybrid, and Fully Online)
  • Coming Soon! COMM 475 Applied Communication (Community Partnership)

Selected Publications:

Journal Articles (Refereed Publications)

Dykstra, T. & Rivera, K. D. (Online First available September, 2015). Cyberactivism or Cyberbalkanization?: Dialectical tensions in an online social movement.  Journal of Social Media Studies.

Rivera, K. D. (2015). Emotional Taint: Making Sense of Emotional Dirty Work at the U.S. Border Patrol.  Management Communication Quarterly, 29(2), 198-228.  DOI: 10.1177/0893318914554090.

Rivera, K. D., & Tracy, S. J. (2014). Embodying emotional dirty work: A messy text of Patrolling the Border. Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal, 9(3), 201-222. DOI 10.1108/QROM-01-2013-1135. 

~Awarded “Highly Commended Paper of 2014” by the editorial team at Qualitative Research in Organizations and Management: An International Journal and Emerald Publishing.

Babin, E. B., Palazzolo, K. A., & Rivera, K. D. (2012). Communication skills, social support, and burnout among advocates in a domestic violence shelter.  Journal of Applied Communication Research, 40, 147-166. DOI:10.1080/00909882.2012.670257.

Tracy, S. J., & Rivera, K. D. (2010- lead article). Endorsing equity and applauding stay-at-home moms:  How male voices on work-life reveal aversive sexism and flickers of transformation.  Management Communication Quarterly, 24, 3-43. DOI: 10.1177/0893318909352248. 

~Awarded the 2012 Bill Eadie Distinguished Article in Applied Communication Award, National Communication Association Applied Communication Division

Book Chapters

Rivera, K. D., & Tracy, S. J. (2012). Patrolling the Ethical Borders of Compassion and Enforcement. In S. May (Ed.), Case studies in organizational communication: Ethical perspectives and practices, 2nd ed. (pp. 271-282). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage. Competitive chapter selection.

Tracy, S. J., Alberts, J. K., Rivera, K. D. (2009). How to bust the office bully: Eight tactics for explaining workplace abuse to decision-makers. In A. Varma (Ed.), Understanding and addressing workplace bullying. Andhra Pradesh, India: ICFAI University Press. Invited chapter.

Applied Scholarship

Hernandez, K. D., & Rivera, K. D. [authors listed alphabetically] (2014). Understanding and alleviating cultural stressors and health disparities in the perinatal outcomes of Mexican-American women. Journal of Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families, 34 (4), pp. 37-45.

Rivera, K. D. (4/25/2014-5/31/2014). More than a Fence: Photography & Stories from the Border. CSUSM Gallery in Restaurant Row; City of San Marcos Art Walk, sponsored by the San Marcos Art Council

Rivera, K. D. (09/2013-12/2013). More than a Fence: (de)Constructing Mexico-U.S. Borders. Photographic and Multi-media exhibit, Kellogg Library Context Series, California State University San Marcos. Photographer, organizer, and exhibit co-curator.

Rivera, K. D., & Tracy, S. J. (2009). Work hard, live hard: Six things smart bosses do to promote work-life harmony and improve their bottom line. White paper for the Project for Wellness and Work-Life, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU.

Tracy, S. J., Alberts, J. A., & Rivera, K. D. (2007). How to bust the office bully: Eight tactics for explaining workplace abuse to decision makers. White paper for the Project for Wellness and Work-Life, Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at ASU.