Alumna Advocates, Consults for Native American Communities as Content/Copywriting Strategist in D.C.
In celebration of Native American Heritage Month (November), we are shining a spotlight on the students, alumni and faculty within the College who are making a difference in Native American communities by advocating for change and elevating diverse voices.
If you would like to be considered as a feature-ee for a future heritage month celebration, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victoria Humphreys, '13, found her way as a communications professional in Washington, D.C., due to her passion for helping advance Native American communities, including her own. After attending a guest lecture from Associate Professor Stephanie Danes Smith (COMM and MDJ) about her experience working with the federal government, Humphreys began studying Federal Indian Policy and the complexities of the nation-to-nation relationship between Tribes and the federal government.
While completing her undergraduate program, she received an offer to intern with Secretary John Kerry at the Department of State, but had to reject the offer to complete her degree. Still, Humphreys had the opportunity to intern through the Washington Internship for Native Students; she worked at the cabinet level and focused on social justice issues affecting historically marginalized groups.
From then on, Humphreys knew she wanted to continue advocating for the needs of American Indians and Alaska Native (AI/AN) communities throughout her professional career. So, after graduation, she moved back to Washington, D.C. She turned to work advancing the needs of Tribes through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of State, the National Council of Urban Indian Health and Kauffman and Associates, Inc.
"We have the Red Road in our culture where we are to keep on the path our ancestors made for us to take care of the land, air, water, and, most importantly, each other," Humphreys said. "We are always striving to get back to the Red Road. That is what I feel happened to me."
With each position, she has been able to advocate for different causes directly affecting Tribal communities. For example, Humphreys co-organized demonstrations in D.C. ranging from 10 to 10,000 people. In addition, she volunteered with Tribal organizations to coordinate meetings with governmental leaders, including the White House, to advance the needs of Tribal communities.
Now, as a Public Affairs Specialist in the Office of the Secretary - Indian Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior, Humphreys developed a process for communicating policy, federal announcements and other complex information internally and externally to AI/AN populations specializing in Indian Affairs. Additionally, she advises leadership on public reaction and outreach initiatives to further the mission of the Department in various areas like outreach, marketing, media relations and digital communications.
Humphreys says the entire experience in the College of Communication and Information prepared her for what she does now in her career. At Kent State, she held board positions in the Kent Community Society and Lamba Pi Eta, and she brought back the Native American Student Association to campus. She hosted her first Native American Heritage Month celebrations at Kent State in 2012 and has continued to use those skills to coordinate annual activities for over ten years.
"I went to as many communications-focused events as possible and networked with alumni with whom I am still in contact today." As a result, Humphreys realized her communication passion is to external public affairs and work to advance the needs of others.
Regarding advice for current and future students pursuing a Communication Studies degree, Humphreys emphasizes that students should take advantage of the many on-campus opportunities and resources. "This is your time — talk to your professors, get involved, and apply these lessons to your life."
Photo Credit: Alex Martin, AMVisuals