There’s a good chance that at any moment, digital media coordinator manager Monika Damron has a child strapped to her back while she climbs a mountain. Find out how she spends her days **cough** hiking **cough, what inspires her at work and how she lives her Native American heritage.
What brought you to NAU?
My partner brought me to Flagstaff. He actually played football for NAU. Over the years, he’s remained extremely close with the friends he made both on and off the field during his undergrad. I’ve gotten to know those friends well now, and they’ve all spoken highly of their experience at NAU, so when a position opened in my area of interest, it was a no-brainer.
What is your favorite thing about your job?
I manage the social media accounts for @NAUOnline and @NAUStatewide. I think my favorite thing about running those accounts is being able to shed light on the non-traditional student. The people who attend NAU online or at one of our statewide locations tend to be “non-traditional” in that they may not be the typical college age or may already have an established career or even have a family while they pursue their degrees. When I was growing up, my mother was always starting and stopping her undergrad, and then finally, when I was a freshman in college myself, she graduated. It was such a wonderful achievement and it motivated her to keep going until she got her Ph.D. in American Indian Studies. And so, having been inspired firsthand by the “non-traditional student,” I truly enjoy sharing the stories of our non-traditional Lumberjacks.
Tell me about how your heritage is a part of your day-to-day life.
Fashion! I am from two Northern Arizona tribes, Hualapai and Navajo, but I love supporting all Indigenous fashion artists by wearing their clothing or jewelry. I appreciate how Indigenous artists communicate the Native experience through their designs, and it makes me feel like I’m expressing my true self!
Tell me about a significant childhood memory and how it has impacted your life today.
I remember the first moment I thought reading was fun. I had a friend who was reading Harry Potter; this was right before the first movie came out, and she wanted me to read it too. We were in elementary school, and I remember having trouble with my reading comprehension at that time, but while reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, my friend would actively talk to me about each chapter. I just remember during one of those talks feeling amazed that not only did I understand what I read, but that I had pictured everything in my head and could imagine the characters’ voices. My friend had given me the reassurance that I was actually able to read, if that makes sense, and it spawned a long relationship with books after that.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a rock star. When I was in middle school, I cut off my long hair (my mother cried, but she was supportive) and learned to play bass. It was a mood.
What have you been most proud of this week?
Surviving. The thing I’m most proud of in life is being a mother to an almost 1-year-old and a 3-year-old, but sometimes just getting through the work week is a feat!
What is your favorite way to spend a day off?
Outside. Preferably hiking with my two littles and their dad. I’d strap a kid on me and hike up a mountain any day.
What are three things on your bucket list?
Master photography, do a family backpacking trip and have an international family vacation.