Dr. Erika Nielson, Director of the Common Experience

Dr. Erika K. Nielson

Director of the Common Experience
and Common Reading Coordinator


Erika K. Nielson is military-connected and has spent her time traversing the West Coast, East Coast, and Texas. She graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in Anthropology. Her teaching experience ranges from teaching yoga and aquatics in the fitness industry, and literacy and music in kindergarten through 12th-grade settings. As she navigated these diverse experiences, she found a passion for teaching literacy. She returned to higher education in 2011 and later received an M.A. in Reading Education from The University of Texas of the Permian Basin. She worked as a Reading Specialist in West Texas before pursuing a Ph.D. in Developmental Education with Literacy Focus from Texas State University. In 2014, she joined the Common Reading Committee at Texas State, and in 2017 became the Common Reading Coordinator. In 2018, she took on the additional title the Assistant Director of the Common Experience. Most recently, in 2021, she was appointed the Director of the Common Experience. She also serves as a senior lecturer for General Studies and University Seminar courses.


  • Ph.D. in Developmental Education, Texas State University, 2017 Dissertation: Students in Developmental Literacy Participating in a Mindfulness-Based Intervention: An Investigation of Mindfulness, Self- Compassion, Affect, and Effort
  • M.A. in Reading Education, The University of Texas of the Permian Basin, 2013
  • B.A. in Anthropology, Texas A&M University, 1999, Honors Program

Key Committee Assignments

  • Co-Chair, Lyndon B. Johnson Distinguished Lecture Series Committee, 2021-Present.
  • Member, Student Affairs Faculty Advisory Committee, 2021-Present.
  • Alternate Member, General Education Council, 2020-Present.
  • Member, Continuity of Education Work Group, 2020-2021.
  • Member, Lyndon B. Johnson Distinguished Lecture Series Committee, 2019-2021.
  • Executive Chair, Common Experience 2019-2020 theme, Truth, 2019-2020.
  • Chair, Common Reading Selection Committee, 2017-Present. Member, 2016-2017.
  • Common Experience Committee, 2017-Present.