School of Humanities and Communication
Brenda Valles, who graduated in Spring 2003 with a concentration in Practical and Professional Ethics, worked for California Assemblymember Simon Salinas as a District Liaison for a year after graduation. In 2003, she was admitted to the Education, Culture & Society department at the University of Utah for an M.Ed. and began her Ph.D. program in Educational Leadership & Policy in 2005. During this time, she worked at the Utah Education Policy Center and with the Office for Equity & Diversity, both at the University of Utah. After successfully defending her dissertation in September 2011, she currently works for the Office for Equity & Diversity at the University of Utah as the Director for Research & Assessment, where she conducts research on diversity in higher education, institutional research (specific to the University of Utah), grant writing and managing, teaching at the undergraduate level and work with graduate students. Brenda recalls that "HCOM was an awakening because it provided me with the opportunity to obtain a unique skill set that has benefitted me academically, professionally and personally...through the literature I was exposed to, the renowned faculty that facilitated the learning process, and the opportunity (at the time) to go through a learning process with a diverse set of peers from the surrounding areas of Monterey, Pajaro and San Benito Counties. "Courses that were interdisciplinary and blended academics with service learning revolutionized the way I thought about power, identity and people. In this way, HCOM meant that I was able to develop a language and set of theories that helped me name the passions, experiences and feelings I had. HCOM was my academic awakening."