Sonya DiPalma, Ph.D., A.P.R.

Chair & Associate Professor of Mass Communication

Contact Information

  • 250-2316
  • 307 Karpen Hall

Office Hours

  • Monday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Wednesday 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
  • Tuesday 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
  • Note: Or by appointment

Sonya DiPalma, Ph.D., associate professor, teaches courses in public relations, media and ethics in society, mass communication theory, professional internship, and social media. Accredited by the Public Relations Society of America, Dr. DiPalma integrates experiential learning in her courses through partnerships with regional nonprofit organizations.

As an invited speaker, she presented at the 2019 Media in America, America in the Media conference at Maria Curie-Skłodowska University in Lublin, Poland. Her current area of research interest focuses on media and the modern refugee. She has held fellowships in multimedia storytelling with ieiMedia Institute in Urbino, Italy, and social media with the American Red Cross through The Plank Center for Leadership in Public Relations at the University of Alabama.

Significant recognitions include the Ginger Rudeseal Carter Miller Teacher of the Year Award by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, UNC Asheville ACE Award, Community Engaged Project: Multimedia Storytelling Award from the Southeastern Museums Conference, National Physical Education Institute Award for Social Media, and a CASE District III Bronze Award for the 2019 Bulldog Challenge fundraising campaign.

Before transitioning into academia, Sonya was a public relations practitioner for various community theatre organizations, the West Virginia Department of Education, and a Fortune 500 energy company. She lives in Asheville with her husband Frank.


  • Ph.D., Mass Communication, College of Communications, The Pennsylvania State University
  • M.S., Journalism, Perley isaac Reed School of Journalism, West Virginia University
  • B.A., Education, Speech, Theatre, and Journalism, Fairmont State College

Current Courses Taught

  • Environmental Communication
  • Mass Communication Theory
  • Media, Ethics & Society
  • Personal Branding
  • Professional Internship
  • Service Learning Courses
  • Social Media
  • Strategic Communication