Dr. Erica Tom is an artist, scholar, and educator.
Erica is an interdisciplinary scholar, situating her work at the intersections of American Studies, Animal Studies, Ethnic Studies, and Women and Gender Studies.
Her current research centers on natural disasters, interspecies relationships, and the interconnectedness of racial and environmental justice. Catalyzed by her personal experience in the October 2017 wildfires of Northern California and training in trauma-informed emergency response and education, Erica also employs a Critical Trauma Studies lens. Her doctoral research focused on the significance of horse-human relationships within prison programs and mounted police. As a multi-species ethnographer, Erica experiments in somatic practices with non-human animals.
Erica is an educator; bridging academic and equine worlds, she takes her teaching beyond the classroom offering individual and group experiential learning opportunities. Her research provides her with unique expertise in horse-human relationships and identity development. Her work with horses (including gentling mustangs and holistic horse care) provides her with a deep understanding of horses as powerful teachers. Melding her academic and equine knowledge, she guides clients in identifying their personal and professional goals, and developing effective communication and leaderships skills.
Erica is a lecturer in the American Multicultural Studies Department and the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies at Sonoma State University. Currently, she teaches courses entitled "Street Stories: Gender, Race, and Place," "Multicultural Communication: Listening, Speaking, and Presenting," and "Art in the Anthropocene: Trauma, Healing, Humans, and Other Animals." She will also begin serving as the Director of Native American Studies at Sonoma State University in January 2019.
Erica is an artist, creating public arts projects collaboratively with communities, including Horses of Newark. She worked as the Associate at the Center for Law, Inequality, and Metropolitan Equity in the Rutgers Law School 2015-2017.
Erica earned her Ph.D. in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark. She earned her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Classical Studies from the University of Washington in 2007, and her M.A. in English Literature from Sonoma State University in 2012. Erica is co-founder of the greater Toronto area Animal Studies Reading Group (2016-2017). A life-long learner, she participates regularly in trauma-informed care trainings, and is currently seeking her equine experiential education certification.