Director of Native American Studies
Dr. Erica Tom (she/they) has been serving as the Director of Native American Studies since Spring 2020. She is passionate about nurturing intellectual communities on campus and beyond: hosting the Native American & Indigenous Studies Reading Group at the HUB Cultural Center, and collaborating with Kashia Pomo Elementary School at Stewarts Point Rancheria.
Dr. Tom teaches NAMS 240 “Native Americans in the Anthropocene” and mentors students taking NAMS 495 Independent Study. She also teaches upper and lower division courses in the American Multicultural Studies Department and the Hutchins School of Liberal Studies, including:
AMCS 125 “Multicultural Conversations: Listening, Speaking, and Presenting”
AMCS 165 “Gender, Race, and Place in Literature, Film, and Media”
AMCS 225 “How Racism Works: American in Black and White”
LIBS 320A “Watching The Wire and Reservation Dogs: Understanding Structural Inequality in the City and Indian Country.”
LIBS 320C “Trauma and Resilience in Contemporary Native American Literature”
As the Reading & Writing Lead Faculty for Sonoma State’s Summer Bridge Program, Dr. Tom designs and delivers introductory composition Ethnic Studies courses. Inspired by Paulo Freire and bell hooks, this curriculum strives to “teach to transgress” – engaging the work of James Baldwin, Gloria Anzaldúa, Greg Sarris, and a diverse collection of poetry.
Dr. Tom’s poetry and scholarly publications have appeared in Women Studies Quarterly, The Pomona Valley Review, Humanimalia, and Moving Ideas: Multimodal Learning in Communities and Classrooms (2015) edited by Dr. Mira Lisa Katz. Her essay “Humanizing Animals: Talking About Prisoners, Horses, and Second Chances” is included in Racial Ecologies (2017) edited by Dr. Kim Hester-Williams and Dr. LeiLani Nishime, which won the Tarla Rai Peterson Book Award in Environmental Communication. Dr. Tom is currently working on a Young Adult manuscript centered around mixed racial identity, intergenerational trauma, and the possibilities for connection that emerge amid disaster.
Along with her creative projects, Dr. Tom has won two awards (2020 & 2021) from the Center for Environmental Inquiry to continue her research focused on the interconnectedness of racial and environmental justice, (un)natural disasters, and cultural fire in Northern California. She won a grant from the Central Valley Community Foundation to complete the short documentary “Good Fire.” This project, featuring Ron W. Goode, the Tribal Chairman of the North Fork Mono Tribe, showed in the Central Valley Film Festival on PBS in November 2021.
She has worked with Center for Academic Success and Student Enrichment as the Reading & Writing Curriculum Lead in the Summer Bridge Program since 2018 to support EOP first generation college students, Puerta students, Seawolf Scholars, and Native American students. Dr. Tom enjoys working with students at all stages of education, recently joining the Cultural Resources Management Masters Program as an Affiliated Faculty.
Bringing trauma-informed practices and resilience training to education, Dr. Tom integrates Mind-Body Medicine techniques and methods into her teaching, community engaged research, and public scholarship. She is an active member of the Asian Pacific Islander Staff and Faculty Association. She also serves as the faculty advisor to the Multicultural Student League and the Equestrian Team at Sonoma State University.
Dr. Tom earned her Ph.D. in American Studies at Rutgers University-Newark in 2017. She earned her M.A. in English Literature from Sonoma State University in 2012, where she served as a teaching assistant to Dr. Ed Castillo. She completed her B.A. in English Literature with a minor in Classical Studies from the University of Washington in 2007.