Brenna Helm

Brenna  Helm
  • PhD Candidate
  • School of Criminal Justice
  • MA 2019, Ohio University
  • BA 2017, Otterbein University
  • 138 Baker Hall
  • 655 Auditorium Rd.
  • East Lansing, MI 48824
  • (517) 432-2274


Curriculum Vitae


Personal Website

Google Scholar



Brenna Helm (she/her) is a PhD candidate in the School of Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. Brenna is a RSAC Security Scholar and fellow at the Institute for Research on Male Supremacy. Her research focuses on extremism, extremists’ use of the Internet, online subcultures, and bias-motivated crimes.

Brenna has a particular interest in male supremacism and far-right extremism, as well as the role of gender within these movements. Much of her work to date has examined affordances of the Internet and the role it plays in radicalization and subcultural engagement. The goal of her research is to better understand Internet facilitation of deviant and criminal behaviors, as well as how our knowledge of these behaviors offline can be leveraged to cultivate a deeper understanding of these mechanisms online and across digital modalities.

Currently, Brenna is researching how gender dynamics influence individual engagement in extremist movements, as well as the trajectory of extremist ideology and violent action. Her recent work has appeared in the Journal of Crime and Justice, Deviant Behavior, Sociological Focus, and in Critical Criminology; as well as the VOX-Pol Network of Excellence Blog and Global Network on Extremism & Terrorism (GNET) Insights. Brenna received her B.A. in Sociology and Psychology from Otterbein University and her M.A. in Sociology from Ohio University.

Selected Publications

The Role of Perceived Injustice and Need for Esteem on Incel Membership Online

Year: 2022 Authors: Liggett-O'Malley, R. & Helm, B. Journal: Deviant Behavior

Examining an Incel Subculture on Reddit

Year: 2022 Authors: Helm, B., Scrivens, R., Holt, T.J., Chermak, S.M., & Frank, R. Journal: Journal of Crime and Justice

’A Human Being Like Other Victims’: The Media Framing of Trans Homicide in the United States

Year: 2021 Authors: DeJong, C., Holt, K., Helm, B., & Morgan, S. Journal: Critical Criminology

Electric Hookups: An analytical review of the literature on the risks related to hookup app use among emerging adults (Book Chapter In Recent Advances in Digital Media Impacts on Identity, Sexuality, and Relationships)

Year: 2020 Authors: Helm, B., Vander Ven, T., & Wesler, H.T. Publisher: IGI Global