The ANA Messenger: Native Languages Edition 2014
Getting to Know Mardella S. Costanzo
1. Can you provide us with some background, including what lead you to the kind of work you do for ANA?
For the past seven years I have been volunteering and working in Indigenous communities in North Carolina. North Carolina is home to eight State Recognized Tribes and four Native American based urban organizations. While attending the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, I volunteered with the Lumbee Tribe’s Boy and Girls Club and the dance & culture classes. After graduation in 2010, I began working with the Office of Indian Education, Cumberland County Schools. While Fayetteville is widely known as the home of Fort Bragg Army Base and Pop Air Force Base, the area is also situated in between two rural tribal communities. Home to generations of urbanized Native families, the Office of Indian Education serves as advocate for student and families rights and needs. Working through the Catching the Dream Drop Out Prevention Grant I was able to help students navigate the road of college and career planning. After the grant period ended I worked at the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, as an Assistant Director of Admissions with a special emphasis in American Indian Recruitment. While there I was able to assist Native students and their families with the transition to college and navigate the procedures involved in the admissions and enrollment.
I am passionate about helping Native communities come together to work for the betterment of the next generation.
2. Being new to ANA, what do you enjoy most about your job so far?
Working with dedicated grantees in the Alaska, Eastern, Pacific and Western regions I really enjoy learning about the different projects and how they are tied to local Indigenous communities.
3. What are some of your interests or hobbies? What do you like to do most in your free time?
In my free time I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, getting lost in a good book, traveling to new places and powwows.
4. Is there anything else you would like to share?
I am proud to come from two rich and distinct cultures! I am a member of the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina and first generation Italian American.