Renae Blackwater

Graduate Degrees: 
Associate in Arts, Emphasis in American Indian Studies
Graduation Year: 

Renae Blackwater, 23, of Mesa, can’t say enough about how the MCC American Indian Institute helped her shape her future.

She spoke at the recent American Indian Institute’s anniversary celebration, telling others how the institute provided assistance and direction at a time when she needed it. Growing up in the Tempe/Mesa area, she was a first-generation college student and didn’t quite know what to expect from college.

Blackwater decided to attend Mesa Community College mostly because it was close to her home, and she had a Pell Grant.

“I enrolled at MCC at the last minute,” she admits. “I was shy, scared and felt alone. After I spoke with an advisor there, I became part of a community who cared.”

MCC has the largest population of American Indian students in the state of Arizona. Every one of the 22 registered tribes in Arizona is represented at MCC and the college ranks eighth in the nation for the successful completion of American Indian students.

She graduates with an Associate in Arts degree, with an emphasis in American Indian Studies. Blackwater plans to attend Arizona State University to continue her education, majoring in American Indian Studies and secondary education.

“I want to help kids on reservations,” she said. “I want them to have the support that helped me so much.”