Monica is a Founder and Co-Director of the Pontiac Holonomy Incubator and PHIN-CO L3C. She is a Researcher, Designer, Social Entrepreneur, Urbanist, Digital Design and Systems Thinking Process Developer with a particular focus on K-12 Education and the global movement of people back to cities.
Before committing to this work, she studied Moral & Political Philosophy, History and Literature at The Evergreen State College, ending with an independent research / thesis project on Political Theorist Hannah Arendt. This led to a follow-on effort adapting the book Evil in Modern Thought: An Alternative History of Philosophy by Susan Neiman in the form of a documentary media storytelling platform, based on a two day interview with Neiman filmed at the Institute for Advanced Study 2007. She presented on the theme of Digital Adaptation at the HASTAC U-M Conference in 2011. Digital Media & Learning, Ethics & Religion, Democracy and Democratic Creative Processes have remained compelling inquiries on her journey.
In 2010 Monica began to study Design, Digital Learning and Systems Thinking upon meeting Jim Ross and discovering 21st Century Digital Learning Environments while covering the “Green Team” Eastern Market mural installation with Detroit Mural Factory for Detroit Edison Public School Academy. The group was facilitating an early MacArthur Digital Media and Learning grant development with the school. Shifting focus to learning the history of Design in Michigan and how to translate ideas to practice via systems and design thinking for K-12 became lifelong research and practical pursuits.
In 2014 the Pontiac Holonomy Incubator was formed to serve as an ad-hoc, informal strategic development site at 4 N. Saginaw to facilitate possibilities-thinking and community connection to the controversial Phoenix Center demolition effort, and to share connected evidence-based design models for it’s potential future regarding downtown Pontiac and surrounding schools. PHIN-CO was beta-tested throughout the process to serve as a Digital Design Thinking platform for schools and organizations.
Formative evidence based pilot model tests and development projects that have shaped understanding via 21st Century Digital Learning Environments and the Pontiac Holonomy Incubator / PHIN-CO:
Studio-Based Learning Pilot Model with Detroit Mural Factory & Gardens @ Central High School, Detroit 2011
D-Bar-A Boy Scouts Ranch (Metamora, MI) Alternative Energy, Project-Based Learning curriculum development 2010–2012
Oakland County Greenhouses and Ernst Barn Digital Media & Learning MacArthur Foundation Grant Development — Alternative Energy, Project-Based Learning curriculum development 2010–2012
Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and Michigan STEM Partnership “Learning Exchange” development work w/ East TN Big Brothers, Big Sisters, L&N STEM Academy & Technology Cooperative 2012–2014
Mobile Digital Art by David Leibowitz (book / network curriculum development 2013-present)
Design Thinking Pilot Program for the Webber Media Arts Academy (Design Walk, downtown Pontiac 2015)
Design Thinking / STEAM “Hallway Collaboration” for the Pontiac School District with Kids First Initiative May 2014 & 2015
SMART Bus Transportation Summits I-III and SMART Transportation Organizing Committee to produce a series of “Transit Talks: Connecting You” for subsidized Pontiac Community Partnership Program, $150,000 annually
Served on original Advisory Committee for the Pontiac Moving Forward (PMF) and on the Economic Development Committee, one of four originating committees of the Oakland University / Pontiac Partnership.
Hosted first Park(ing) Day Pontiac 2017 & 2018
National Street Service Pontiac Pilot City Spring / Summer 2018
Pontiac Youth Recreation Millage Advisory Committee
Co-Developed two City of Pontiac Neighborhood Empowerment Project Grant Awards for Mattie McKinney Hatchett Park 2017 & Hidden River Park “Community Design Challenge” 2018.