Race and Ethnic Studies major, emphasis in Native American Studies
Mary Jane Andreas ’18 never expected her after-school job to turn into a career.
During her first year at Redlands, Andreas accepted a job as a tutor at Sherman Indian High School, an off-reservation boarding school for Native Americans. She worked with marginalized youth, helping with homework, assisting with cultural workshops or simply offering a listening ear. As a Paiute woman, Andreas related closely with the students.
“I worked there for a few hours every day, and I realized I wanted to do that for the rest of my life,” Andreas said. “That’s how I chose my major.”
Andreas recognizes her decision is a way to help others, just as she has been helped. She’s the first in her family to attend a university, and while her mother encouraged her to enroll, Andreas had no one to help her do it. Several people from the Native Student Programs office within the Center for Diversity and Inclusion reached out to her to help with application essays and scholarship forms, and they even offered one-on-one tutoring after she started her classes.
“CDI feels like a home away from home, and that’s honestly why I went to college,” Andreas said. “When they did that for me, it made me want to do it for other people—to have that support system and be able to give it to someone else.”
She realizes what a difference it made to have assistance with scholarship applications. Her entire tuition is covered by scholarships, and Andreas says she wouldn’t be able to attend Redlands otherwise.
Once she earns her degree from Redlands, Andreas plans to be a travel youth adviser, helping Native American students apply to colleges, hold fundraisers to attend conferences, organize intertribal youth groups, and understand their culture.
When she’s not in class or at her tutoring job, Andreas is a leader in the Native American Student Union (NASU) and in her sorority, Alpha Chi Delta. As a sophomore, she helped revive the decades-old sorority that had faded out more than 60 years ago. Andreas has held multiple cabinet positions in this organization, which focuses on women of color and emphasizes multiculturalism, welcoming both Native and non-Native students. She views her work to re-found Alpha Chi Delta as one of the defining moments for her at Redlands.
“It’s something we did to have our voices heard and make the campus a comfortable space for everybody.”