Mona Noriega is currently enrolled in the Public Administration Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Chicago and works as a graduate research assistant on a major NSF-funded project Women in Science and Engineering: Network Access, Participation, and Career Outcomes. Most recently she served as the Regional Director of the Midwest Office of Lambda Legal Defense, which advances civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered, and people living with HIV or AIDS throughout the Midwest. Noriega helped open the Midwest office in Chicago in 1993.
Noriega was founding co-chair and senior bid consultant for Chicago 2006, Inc. She worked to develop diverse community support for the bid to host the Games, mobilized hundreds of volunteers, raised thousands of dollars, and created partnerships with municipal and state governments. Prior to her work for Chicago 2006, Noriega served as assistant publisher for Windy City Times, where she crafted marketing and managed client relationships.
She served for eight years on the Steering Committee of Amigas Latinas, an organization committed to the empowerment and education of Latina lesbian, bisexual and questioning women in the Chicago area. A seasoned community activist, Noriega is a 2003 recipient of the Trailblazer Award from Bailiwick Repertory Theater, inducted into the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2002 and recipient of 2002 Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum, Sor Juana Achievement Award.
Noriega has an MBA in marketing and strategic planning from the University of Illinois at Chicago and received her undergraduate degree from Northeastern Illinois University.