The USPC Academy of Achievement recognizes alumni who have attained notable success in their chosen field. Three outstanding Pony Club alumni were inducted into the Academy of Achievement for 2020. Follow along in this series as we introduce this years inductees.
Erin Tomson, Ph. D.
Erin Tomson is from Pullman, Washington, and was raised on her family’s horse boarding farm. She joined Palouse Hills Pony Club at the age of 7 and worked her way through the levels, earning her A certification at the age of 19.
She obtained her undergraduate degree in communication from Midway College in Kentucky, where she competed for the equestrian team in hunt seat equitation, dressage, eventing, western equitation and reining. After graduating from Midway in 2001, Erin trained horses professionally for three years under the mentorship of Cindy Burge at Deep Creek Farm in Medical Lake, Washington.
In 2004, she decided to further her education and began graduate school at Washington State University. Erin earned her master’s degree in communication in 2006, and her Ph.D. in 2010. She then joined the faculty at Oregon State University. In 2015, she returned to WSU, where she holds her current position as clinical assistant professor. She is the course director for Public Speaking in the Digital Age, which enrolls about 1,000 students each semester, and she oversees the graduate teaching assistants. She also teaches crisis communication courses and mentors students at the undergraduate and graduate level.
Erin spends her free time riding and helping her parents run their farm. Her Thoroughbred, Gus, is retired at the age of 24. Together, they competed successfully through the Preliminary level of eventing for several years, and finished the Training level classic three-day event at Rebecca Farm. Her current competition partner is a 12-year-old Holsteiner named Prim, and she is working to train her future event horse, a coming 3-year-old Dutch/Quarter Horse cross named Sandy. Erin continues to mentor young riders, as well as actively competing and volunteering in Area VII eventing.