For Comfort, who has a B.A. from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, his new job has special meaning. “Being Native, being first generation, is the reason I got into this field. When I first went to college, I didn’t even know what a FAFSA [Free Application for Federal Student Aid] was. I paid for my first year out of pocket,” he says. “If I had known even half of what I now know about what’s available in higher education, I would have had a much different experience.”
It’s not that Comfort didn’t enjoy college, though. “I came to Wisconsin intending to study mechanical engineering,” he says. “It didn’t last. When someone told me I could get a degree for reading books, I said, ‘You’re kidding me.’” So Comfort switched his majors to English, psychology, and American Indian Studies.
And he established an M.O. that has served him well: “I attend a university and then I work there.” At the University of Wisconsin that meant that after graduation he helped to establish a diversity office in the School of Education. At the University of North Carolina, where he earned his master’s in mass communications, he was an academic advisor in the College of Arts and Sciences, as well as an adjunct faculty member of the School of Media and Journalism, teaching photojournalism and video production.