Communications Faculty and Staff

Dr. Tamara Gillis

Professor of Communications | 717-361-1386

Tamara Gillis, professor of communications, teaches corporate communications and research courses at Elizabethtown College. Her most recent works include the second editions of "The IABC Handbook of Organizational Communication" (Jossey-Bass) and "The Essentials of Employee Communication," contributions to "Workplace Communication for the 21st Century" (Praeger) and "The Human Element: Employee communication in small to medium-sized businesses." She is a Page Legacy Scholar of The Arthur W. Page Center. She serves as a corporate consultant and has led the International Association of Business Communicators Executive Accreditation program at Royal Roads University.

Gillis is recognized globally for her work in education, training, change management and employee communication. Her research and consulting interests include change management, civic involvement, effective organizational structures and the impact of new media. She has served as a faculty member for the Institute for Shipboard Education’s Semester at Sea program and at Royal Roads University (Victoria, British Columbia) Centre for Applied Leadership and Management, as well as in special mass media projects in Swaziland and Namibia in Africa. Research and consulting projects have led her to Australia, Canada, India, Ecuador and a number of other countries.

The Pennsylvania Public Relations Society recognized Gillis with the Ernest R. McDowell Award for Excellence in Public Relations in 2014. Gillis holds the designation of accredited business communicator through the IABC and was recognized as an IABC Fellow in 2014 and an IABC Research Foundation Lifetime Friend in 2004. She was the first educator to serve as the chairman of the IABC Research Foundation. Gillis presented the international keynote address at the 2009 ARC Strategic Internal Communication conference in Melbourne, Australia, and a keynote address at Royal Roads University’s Centre for Applied Leadership and Management in 2011.

tamara gillis

Dr. Kirsten Johnson

Professor of Communications | 717-361-1258

Kirsten Johnson, professor of communications, primarily teaches video production and news writing classes. She also advises the E-town chapter of the Society for Collegiate Journalists. Prior to teaching, Johnson worked for nearly a decade in local radio and television. She began her media career at KRNT and KIOA radio in Des Moines, Iowa as an on-air personality and board operator. She then worked as a news producer at WOI-TV (the ABC affiliate in Des Moines) and at WGAL-TV (the NBC affiliate in Lancaster).

Johnson has a bachelor's degree in journalism and mass communication from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, a master's degree in telecommunications from Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, and a doctoral degree in information science and technology from Drexel University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her research interests include citizen journalism, perceived credibility on web sites and user created content. She has made presentations nationally and internationally on citizen journalism, has authored several papers on citizen journalism and user created content and has written a book chapter titled "Citizen Journalism in the Community and the Classroom in the book Public Journalism 2.0: The Promise and Reality of a Citizen-Engaged Press." She co-edited a book, titled "News With a View: Journalism Beyond Objectivity" and co-authored a textbook, titled "Shoot, Edit, Share: Video Production for Mass Media, Marketing, Advertising, and Public Relations".

kirsten johnson

Dr. Kelly Poniatowski

Associate Professor | 717-361-1371

Kelly Poniatowski is an associate professor of communications at Elizabethtown College. She earned her doctoral degree in mass communications from Penn State University. She earned her master's degree in corporate communications from Duquesne University and her bachelor's degree from the University of Pittsburgh, Johnstown.

Poniatowski spent eight years in the sports industry in public relations, customer service and ticketing. She worked for the former Johnstown Chiefs (East Coast Hockey League), the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Washington Capitals. She enjoys incorporating her on-the-job experience into the classroom. Dr. Poniatowski has most recently taught:

  • Multimedia Journalism (Com 211)
  • PR Writing (Com 355)
  • Advanced Public Relations (Com 412)
  • First Year Seminar (FYS 100)

Poniatowski’s research interests focus on gender, nationality, and race in sports. Previous research has looked at the framing of women in Olympic hockey. Currently she is researching gender and race in American Ninja Warrior.

kelly poniatowski

Dr. Matt Skillen

Associate Professor of English; Department Chair of English and Communications | 717-361-1232

Matt Skillen is  the director of the Secondary English Education Program. Previously, Matt has taught seventh and eighth grade language arts students in traditional, inclusion, gifted and remedial settings. Matt is a recipient of the Kansas Horizon Award for exemplary service in the first year of teaching and he is a co-founder of the Life Writes Project, an education nonprofit in Harrisburg, PA. Matt's research interests include narrative inquiry, teacher education and Young Adult literature. Dr. Skillen received his Ph.D from Kansas State University.

Dr. Matt Skillen

Dr. Colin Helb

Associate Professor | 717-361-1387

Colin Helb is Associate Professor of Communications, Director of the Film Studies Program, and General Manager/Faculty Advisor for WWEC 88.3 FM, Elizabethtown College’s student-operated radio station.

Dr. Helb teaches courses in media production, new media, critical media studies, media design, and speech. Additionally, Dr. Helb has served on honors committees for the Departments of Communications and English, overseen directed studies and independent studies, and advised students and faculty on the integration of media technology.

Helb earned his doctoral degree from Bowling Green State University's American Culture Studies Program with emphases in popular culture; film, media and television studies; and popular music. Helb's book, "Hardcore, Punk, and Other Junk: Aggression in Contemporary Music" (co-edited with Eric Abbey), was published by Lexington in 2014. Additional research and publications explore gender politics in Hollywood, gender and technology in music production, cross-media marketing and convergence, and amateur media production.

He is active in the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) and the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association (MAPACA) of which he served a two-year term as the organization's president.

 Colin Helb's website is located at

colin helb

Dr. Matthew Telleen

Associate Professor | 717-361-1262

Matthew Telleen is associate professor of communications at Elizabethtown College. He earned his doctoral degree in communications from the University of South Carolina and his juris doctorate from the University of Minnesota. 

Telleen previously has worked in corporate communications, print journalism and as an attorney in St. Paul, Minnesota. He teaches courses in Communication Law and Ethics, Communication Research Methods, Multi-Cultural Communications and Writing Across the Media. His research focuses on corporate political speech, commercial speech and First Amendment Theory.


Dr. Katherine Hughes

Assistant Professor | 717-361-1259

Katherine Hughes, assistant professor, teaches courses in multimedia production, digital photography and visual communications. Earlier in her career, Hughes worked for six years in the fields of e-learning and web development as a designer and project manager.

Before joining the faculty at Elizabethtown College, Hughes taught at Loyola University Maryland, in Baltimore, and James Madison University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Hughes earned a bachelor's degree in mass communications from James Madison University, and a master's degree in television/radio/film and a doctoral degree in mass communications from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Hughes' research interests revolve around how traditional media outlets incorporate new technologies into their channels of message distribution. A separate area of interest focuses on teaching, specifically the tools and techniques that can be used to facilitate student learning in and out of the classroom, including study abroad.

Dr. Katherine Hughes

Andy Williams

Director of Broadcasting | 717-361-6414

  • AS in Telecommunications from Delaware Tech and Community College

Andy is an Emmy-nominated press photographer and has over 20 years in broadcast news experience. Most recently he was employed by WGAL TV, an NBC affiliate covering central PA. Andy works closely with many of the Communications students on student run programming and audio/video projects for class assignments. He oversees the ECTV 40 Television station and works closely with the student board members. With the introduction of the College’s new Mobile Video Production Truck, Andy accompanies students to on and off campus remote productions.

andy williams