Bonnie M. Nickels


Bonnie M. Nickels.

Bonnie M. Nickels


Bonnie M. Nickels


Scholarly Interests

Difficult Conversations in Interpersonal and Health Communication contexts. End-of-life communication. Social Support


Dr. Bonnie Nickels specializes in teaching and researching interpersonal and health communication. As a professor with a focus on teaching, Dr. Nickels is dedicated to student-centered learning, sharing her enthusiasm for the communication discipline and emphasizing the positive impact effective communication skills can have on personal and professional growth.

In addition to her teaching, Dr. Nickels’ research delves into various aspects of interpersonal communication, particularly exploring its intersection with health, family dynamics, and media. Her research interests encompass challenging topics such as difficult conversations, end-of-life communication, and supportive interactions.

Recent studies by Dr. Nickels have investigated how communication strategies can maintain relational bonds during turbulent life events. Specifically, she advocates for using film and television as pedagogical tools to facilitate difficult discussions, such as end-of-life conversations within families. Additionally, she explores relational maintenance behaviors in relationships experiencing separation due to incarceration.

Educational Background

  • PhD, University at Buffalo, State University of New York    
  • MS, Rochester Institute of Technology        
  • BA, State University of New York at Geneseo
  • AAAS, State University of New York at Morrisville   

Recent Courses

  • COM 199: Seminar – Demystifying Relationships
  • COM 199: Seminar – Health Communication
  • COM 240: Introduction to Mass Communication
  • COM 337: Communication Theory
  • COM 484: Special Topics in Interpersonal Communication- Family Communication 

Selected Publications

Nickels, B. M., Tenzek, K. E., & Lattimer, T. A. (2023). This is Us: An analysis of mediated family communication at end-of-life. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 87, 1238-1258.                 

Nickels, B. M., & Tenzek, K. E. (2022). Family communication at end-of-life: Breaking the taboo through entertainment media. In G. Luurs (Ed.), Handbook of Research on Communication Strategies for Taboo Topics. IGI Global. 

Nickels, B. M. (2020). Love locked up: An exploration of relationship maintenance and perceived barriers for women who have incarcerated partners. Journal of Family Communication, 20, 36-         50.

Tenzek, K. E. & Nickels, B. M. (2019). End-of-Life (EOL) in Disney and Pixar films: An opportunity for engaging in difficult conversation. Omega: Journal of Death and Dying, 80, 49-68. (Early ePub release 2017).

Nickels, B. M. & Feeley, T. H. (2017). Breaking bad news in veterinary medicine. Health Communication, 13, 1105-1113.