Erica Hilton is a strategic communicator, digital media innovator, and passionate educator. She is a doctoral candidate in Mass Communications at Penn State University, conducting research that meets at multiple intersections of public relations, digital media, diversity and inclusion, and media representation. Erica was awarded the Inez Kaiser Graduate Students of Color Award by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) for her inclusion of diversity issues in both the classroom and her research.
Erica is a passionate educator and has taught classes in strategic communication, public relations, and media studies. In her courses students have created public relations campaigns; conducted critical media analyses and applied communication theories; and learned to use media tools such as Cision, Adobe Creative Suite, and WordPress. In April 2019, Erica was award the Djung Yune Tchoi Memorial Excellence in Teaching Award by the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications at Penn State University.
Before attending Penn State University, Erica resided in Washington, DC where she worked as an Online Activism Manager with the Laborers’ International Union of North America (LiUNA), leading its digital efforts by managing its web presence, including the international website, issue-based blog, and its social media such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
In addition to Erica’s work in digital media, she has also earned media placements within the top 20 DMAs, written speeches for executive-level government officials at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and produced commercials and videos. Other previous experience includes maintaining two organizations’ electronic newsletters, email marketing, website content management and developing an internal blog for a federal agency. Also, Erica has hosted workshops and participated in panels on digital media and online branding at three different universities. In addition to writing on behalf of organizations, Erica has contributed to Huffington Post, Blavity, and PR Daily.
Erica earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication Arts summa cum laude from Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in May 2011, where she served as SGA Student Body President and a member of the Board of Trustees. In 2012, Erica earned a Master of Arts degree in Public Communication from American University (AU).