Mona Halcomb, '11

Mona HalcombMona 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.

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