Sonoma State UniversitySycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation Scholar
Mariah Chastain has overcome numerous challenges in life, including a birth
mother who battled mental illness and addiction. Mariah was removed from her
home and placed in foster care at age nine. She never again saw her family, did
not know her father, and was separated from her brothers, one of whom was
taken away in a custody battle, while the other died tragically when Mariah was
in middle school.
Disconnected from family, Mariah struggled to find a sense of belonging and
identity. In spite of these difficulties, she became the first in her family to
go to college. Now a junior at Sonoma State University, she is majoring in
environmental studies with an emphasis in conservation and restoration and
minoring in biology. Mariah has three on-campus
jobs and is a leader in the
Mathematical Engineering Science Achievement Club.
Mariah plans to study abroad at Swansea University, in Wales, to expand her
environmental and biological education. She intends to pursue a doctorate in
environmental conservation with an emphasis in indigenous studies.