Comcast RISE business grant winner shoots through an equity lens to support community

By Nina Huang
Northwest Asian Weekly

Melissa Ponder self portrait

Melissa Ponder has led a career dedicated to promoting equity and eliminating disparities—first in the education and nonprofit fields, and now through her photography.

Ponder is a Korean American army brat. She was born near her father’s hometown in southern Missouri and moved around with her family growing up. Her mother was one of the first Korean wives of the U.S. GIs. Their family had lived in air bases in Missouri, South Korea, and Germany.

Given her unique childhood and experiencing inclusivity and cross-cultural communications, she’s able to see things through an equity lens.

Ponder used to work in education, including conducting equity diversity training. She has also worked for International Community Health Services in program management, serving diverse populations to reduce diabetes disparities.

She made the pivot from the education and nonprofit sector to pursuing her hobby of photography.

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