Callaghan Smith ’16

Shifted from a math major to promote social justice. 

Building relationships is one of the experiences Callaghan Smith ’16 values most about his time at Redlands.

“I enjoyed every minute of my freshman year—meeting people and making friends in Williams Hall,” he says.

Callaghan advises future Bulldogs to get involved early. “Spend some time in your residence hall and in clubs, organizations and programs of interest. Freshman year is the year to do it.” 

The San Jose, California native came to the University as a math major with a plan to teach, but an Introduction to Race and Ethnic Studies class changed his mind. “I loved the discussions. It was a class that helped me grow and it led me to changing my major,” he said.

The course also led to his involvement in REACH—Read, Empower, Attain, Create, Hope—workshops and programs to help children in California’s juvenile halls. “I have learned a lot about those who are incarcerated and have become interested in reentry programs for those individuals.”

Callaghan’s second major decision as a freshman was taking on a leadership role in the fraternity RYG—Rangi Ya Giza—a group focused on diversity, inclusion and social justice that works to educate the campus community about those issues and is committed to giving back through service.

Working with RYG, Callaghan has had the opportunity to work on two important initiatives.

“I was part of the party policy committee, helping to rewrite the social policies for the college. I was also one of the student leaders to work on the forum on race held in November. I am proud to be part of RYG—a group that is bold and doesn’t shy away from important issues.”

Volunteering with REACH and RYG, along with his study abroad experience, led Callaghan in his junior year to declare a second major in public policy.

“I went to Mexico, Guatemala and Cuba. It was a great experience living with a host family and experiencing a different culture. I learned a lot about policy and how it affects people.”

Callaghan is still considering options post commencement, but is sure about the work he wants to do. “I want to work toward more affordable housing, juvenile justice and civil rights for all people."