Mariah Ravelli graduated from the AIS program in 2011. She was inspired to pursue a degree in AIS because of her strong ties to her Native family in New Mexico. "Growing up I heard my grandmother's stories of what life was like for her, as well as a subtle undercurrent of demoralization that permeated within my elders. I not only wanted to get a general education, but get an education in a field that directly tied to my culture and showed pride for my family."
Mariah goes into depth about her most memorable part in the AIS program. "When I took my first class with Charlotte Coté I felt enlightened. At the time I was uneducated about how much the years of historic trauma were impacting myself, my family, and all Native communities. Much of my education through the AIS program was more than textbook education, I feel AIS expanded my ability to think about everything, and I am grateful for that skill. I learned how to appropriately question what I am told and re-conceptualize what I see happening around me today".
When asked if she had any advice for anyone interested in a minor or major in AIS, Mariah's advice was "I went into this degree thinking I would learn more about myself and my family's history. But I learned so much more than that; I learned how to think and I learned to understand that there are always two or more sides to every story". She adds, "In this day-and-age when we are being bombarded by propaganda from all sides, it is so important to be able to gauge the points of view of the sources presenting their "facts" and understand that there is rarely objective truth. Reality is based on a nugget of fact and constant orbiting opinions and points-of-view. The story of the Native experience is a perfect example of this, not just throughout history but modern day life. I don't think there is a better way to learn how to critically think than through a program like this one. Non-Natives and Natives alike will gain these skills and if you are Native you will feel a renewed passion for what your elders went through for you to be here now, and how there is a power behind us that is strong enough to fight the struggles that bind us."
Mariah currently works for Starbucks/Nestle. She is one of 5 partners supporting Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion initiatives, specifically focused on driving Leadership and Accountability. "We work to ensure diversity and equity in hiring, promotions, and pay as well as supporting DE&I driven programs for current employees. Most recently I am working on a project to to raise awareness around Supportive Recognition through training programs including: how to mentor, understanding unconscious bias, and how leaders can acknowledge national and global events impacting their employees."
Outside of work, "I am married to a wonderful man named Mark, we live near Seattle with our 3 senior pets (2 dogs and 1 cat). We spend our time riding bikes, exploring Washington, and working on lots of house-projects to fix up our home."