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."

kirsten johnson

Dr. Kelly Poniatowski

Associate Professor, Chair | 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 also worked game days for such teams as the Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles. She enjoys incorporating her on-the-job experience into the classroom. Dr. Poniatowski has mostly recently taught:

  • Introduction to Communications (Com 120)
  • Writing Across the Media (Com 211)
  • Magazine Management and Feature Writing (com 314)
  • Writing for Corporate Communications (Com 355)
  • Special Topics: Media, Sports, and Society (Com 370)
  • Advanced Public Relations (Com 412)
  • First Year Seminar: Sport, Film and Society (FYS 100)

Poniatowski’s research interests focus on gender, nationality, and race in sports. Specifically, she is interested in men’s and women’s Olympic hockey and how commentators portray the athletes in the commentary. Poniatowski has published numerous journal articles on this topic including, “’The nail polish underneath the hockey gloves’: NBC’s framing of women hockey players in the 2010 Winter Olympics,” “‘The more things change, the more they….’: Commentary during women’s ice hockey at the 2010 Olympic Games” and “You’re Not Allowed Body Checking in Women’s Hockey: Preserving gendered and nationalistic hegemonies in the 2006 Olympic ice hockey tournament.” Dr. Poniatowski also has explored media coverage of sports such as women’s soccer, men’s and women’s water polo and gymnastics and equestrian events.

Poniatowski is the advisor of The Etownian, the Elizabethtown College student newspaper.

kelly poniatowski

Dr. Colin Helb

Associate Professor | 717-361-1387

Colin Helb is associate professor of communications, specializing in media production and technology, new media and critical cultural and media studies. Helb also is active in the Film Studies Minor and is faculty advisor/general manager of WWEC 88.3 FM, Elizabethtown College’s student-operated radio station.

Recent courses Helb has taught include:

  • Introduction to Communications (Com 120)
  • Media Design and Production (Com 125)
  • Visual Communications (Com 130)
  • Audio Applications and Techniques (Com 220)
  • Multimedia Applications for Corporate Communication (Com 235)
  • Introduction to Cinema (Com 261)
  • Digital Media Convergence and Design (Com 310)
  • Writing for New Media (Com 315)
  • Communications Capstone (Com 465)

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, The Monkees and cross-media marketing and convergence and amateur media production. He is the area co-chair of Internet Culture for the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA), area co-chair of Music for the Mid-Atlantic Popular & American Culture Association (MAPACA) and the executive secretary/president-elect of MAPACA.

 Helb's home page is located at and his teaching site is located at

colin helb

Dr. Matthew Telleen

Assistant Professor | 717-361-1262

Matthew Telleen is assistant 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

Cheryl Irwin-Bass

Adjunct Lecturer | Steinman 206A

Cheryl Irwin-Bass, adjunct lecturer, is vice president and chief operations officer of The Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry. With 20 years experience in marketing, communications and media and community relations, Irwin-Bass strategically coordinates the marketing, communications, membership and business development initiatives of the organization.

Prior to The Lancaster Chamber, her professional experience included marketing and community relations in the public education field and the advertising and editorial sides of the newspaper business.

She holds a bachelor's degree in communications from Millersville University and a master's degree in communication studies from Shippensburg University. Irwin-Bass is a graduate of Leadership Lancaster’s class of 2002, serves on the Community Needs Committee for the United Way, is a board member of the Pennsylvania Chamber of Commerce Executives and serves in other volunteer capacities. 


Dan Connolly

Adjunct Lecturer | 717-361-1262 | Steinman 206A

A Baltimore native and an alumnus of Elizabethtown College’s Communications Department, Dan Connolly is senior writer/content editor for, a website he co-created in 2016. Previously, he had spent nearly 25 years working for newspapers in Pennsylvania and Maryland, including more than a decade as Orioles/national baseball writer for The Baltimore Sun. He's won myriad journalism awards, including Maryland's Sportswriter of the Year. His first book, “100 Things Orioles Fans Should Know and Do Before They Die,” was published in 2015 and is a history of the team and its key players in short narratives. He’s been a guest on regional and national radio and TV networks, including CBS Radio, Sirius/XM Radio, ESPN, ESPNNews and MASN, and he hosts a weekly baseball show on WOYK sports radio in York, Pa. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in communications from Elizabethtown College.


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