Alumni Ambassadors

Nominated by faculty and staff, Alumni Ambassadors are volunteers who share their program and professional experiences with current and prospective students.  Through events and email conversation, ambassadors are available to discuss how they have navigated their studies and translated their degrees into success.

Learn about our Alumni Ambassadors and email them directly at iasalum@uw.edu.

Mona Halcomb, '11

Mona Halcomb graduated from the Cultural Studies program in 2011 and has worked in several leadership capacities, including Dean of Student Services for Northwest Indian College and Education Director with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation where she led multi-generational programs.  Mona has also served as Administrator for the Comparative History of Ideas Program (CHID) at the University of Washington, and most recently, she joined Oregon Department of Education as an Indian Education Specialist where her main focus is oversight of the Tribal Attendance Pilot Project, which aims to reduce chronic absenteeism in Oregon native communities.  

Before Cultural Studies, Mona had been planning a career in politics. To this end, she sought an advanced degree in policy or law and was moving in that direction when life took an unexpected turn. A member of her family became ill with cancer, and circumstances prevented her from taking the LSAT. This pause led Mona to reevaluate her goals, and as she surveyed the political arena, she concluded it was full of lawyers and policymakers - and still headed in a downward spiral. Knowing the basic premise of democracy is to represent the people, Mona decided that she needed a better understanding of the diverse perspectives in her community.

Mona chose the MA in Cultural Studies program for its attention to power, privilege, and the historical aspects of culture, all critical factors to understanding people and politics. Cultural Studies allowed Mona to enhance her communication and collaboration abilities, skills she uses every day. She is passionate about social justice and ensuring access to education, and has dedicated her career to serving the needs of underrepresented populations.

Contact Mona at iasalum@uw.edu.
 

Joshua Heim, '10

Joshua Heim had 10 years of experience in the cultural heritage and museum field before joining Cultural Studies. He began his career at Kaho‘oilina: A Journal of Hawaiian Language Sources in Honolulu, Hawai‘i, a scholarly journal dedicated to preserving the Hawaiian language and supporting Hawaiian language immersion schools. He then went on to the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience in Seattle where developed community-based exhibitions and managed the award winning YouthCAN program, recipient of the National Youth Arts and Humanities Program Award from the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

After several years as Cultural Arts Administrator for the City of Redmond, Josh accepted a position in 2016 as Arts Program Manager at the City of Bellevue where he manages cultural planning, grant making, public art programs, and serves as staff liaison to the Bellevue Arts Commission.  His interests include new approaches to public art, creative place-making, and Washington State’s cultural community; he serves on the King County 4Culture Arts Advisory Committee, King County Library Arts Advisory Committee, and the Humanities Washington Program Committee. He is also interested in expanding opportunities for artists of color. He has been a panelist for the Joyce Award at the Joyce Foundation in Chicago; an Ambassador for the Artists Up! initiative in Seattle; lectured for the Immigrants Sites of Conscience Seminar in New York; and taught museology coursework for Northwest Indian College in Bellingham. Joshua was the Washington State representative to the 2014 WESTAF Emerging Leaders of Color in the Arts Professional Development Program.

Joshua received a M.A. in Cultural Studies from the University of Washington and a B.A. from Lewis and Clark College.

Contact Joshua at iasalum@uw.edu.
 

Julie Hurst, '15

Julie entered the Cultural Studies program with a professional background in student affairs within housing and residential life and study abroad. While working in study abroad enrollment management, outreach, and recruitment, Julie began to formulate questions around access, reciprocity, and representation. The interdisciplinary design of Cultural Studies allowed her to explore her questions broadly, while connecting them with theory, resulting in new ways for engaging them. Her capstone research focused on digital storytelling as a space for engaging underrepresented students in exploring difficult and further-marginalizing experiences in the context of study abroad.

Since graduating in 2015, Julie accepted the role of Director of Campus Engagement in the Center for Community Engagement at Seattle University. In this position, she is part of a team committed to engaging SU students, faculty, staff and community partners in local social change efforts and building SU’s profile in the field of community engagement. Julie has found a great deal of overlap between her current role and research project within Cultural Studies. She looks forward to future opportunities for collaborating with and remaining connected with her fellow alumni, as well as current and prospective Cultural Studies colleagues.

Contact Julie at iasalum@uw.edu.
 

Bogdana Manole, '14

Bogdana Manole graduated from the UW Bothell Cultural Studies program in 2014 and is now enrolled in the Environmental Social Science PhD Program at Arizona State University.

She initially applied to the Cultural Studies program because she was interested in issues of environmental justice, specifically in understanding how neoliberal market mechanisms lead to environmental degradation and social injustice. She answered these questions by researching the indigenous struggle for recognition through participation in the market economy. During her master’s program she was academically guided by UW Bothell professors who were deeply invested in her personal and academic success. 

 Her successful participation in the Cultural Studies program compelled her to continue her graduate studies. Currently she is in her second year of the doctoral program at ASU, researching social and environmental injustices related to water distribution and oil extraction.

Besides pursuing her academic career, Bogdana is raising two teenage boys and is involved in political activism in her neighborhood.

Contact Bogdana at iasalum@uw.edu.
 

Alumni Stories

Learn about other Cultural Studies alumni.