Dr. Mona Scott Figueroa has been an acclaimed American Indian Studies and sociology professor at Mesa Community College for more than 20 years. She is known for leading difficult discussions about systemic racism, sexuality, miseducation, and the need for positive representation of Indigenous and underrepresented communities.
Her approach to teaching is an active learning technique of valuing and incorporating the knowledge, skills and abilities of her students, which they bring from their communities. Students praise Mona’s ability to create brave spaces as she leads them in critical thinking, writing activities, and group projects to foster collaboration, engage in research, and develop confidence in their communication skills.
The textbook Mona authored -- Think Race and Ethnicity -- explores race, power and inequality as systems affecting all people in a society.
Mona’s courageous commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion is at the core of her teaching and service to her students, the college and community. Early at MCC, she taught in the Mexico Study Abroad program, directed by Jaime Herrera. She instructed underserved high school students in the summer Achieving a College Education – known as the ACE program -- and currently works with Hoop of Learning American Indian students.
Because the focus and projects in her Human Sexuality class are directed by students, the curriculum is relevant and authentic, often reaching out into the community with events such as the Drag Queen Story Hour and STI Awareness Fair.
For dedicated service to the community, she received the Veora E. Johnson Spirit of Unity, Educator of the Year award during the City of Mesa’s Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration.
For a link to the full video of the ceremony, please visit MCC Hall of Fame 2021.