Updated: Sep 9, 2021
Maracea “Mesa” Chase is a senior majoring in Cinema and Media Studies with a minor in Digital Studies. She is originally from Gallup, New Mexico. She is the 2021 co-executive director and co-founder of the Native American Student Assembly (NASA). She along with her co-founders was responsible for transitioning the Native American Student Union (NASU) to a student assembly. She is a part of the Navajo community with additional Hopi and Lakota heritage. The reason she helped to create NASA was because “ I wanted to be able to give back to my community especially at USC, which is a predominantly white institution and where natives many times have a lack of resources. We started NASA to be there for one another because we are all family.” She has held multiple positions in NASA she began her involvement freshman year when it was NASU, which she was the Vice President of. Once she created the assembly she took on the position of co-executive director and has been in that position ever since.
She describes the role of NASA on campus as one meant to “Help facilitate the conversation about Native American students in higher education as well as support the Native American students and the greater community at USC by providing resources and programming.” For Mesa the most important part of NASA is the community aspect- a point she continued to emphasize. I want to build a family among all our members, make everyone feel supported and let every member know that they are not alone. There has been a lot of disconnection in the past and now more than ever with COVID, so building that community and support system is most important.” It is extremely important for her to have a position of power as not only a female leader on campus, but as a women of color. “It’s a very empowering position to be in because as a woman of color you do not grow up seeing women lead in the way I am. It is a breakthrough for me.” The legacy she wants to leave in NASA is : “I want to create a place of support for native students - one that is welcoming. I would love my legacy to be a person that contributed to creating NASA- as a guiding light for all the future executive directors.”
Her plans for NASA for this school year are to get their staff and everyone else connected due to the previous two and half semesters being virtual. “ I am excited to meet everyone and I am excited to work with our future leaders to ensure that a system is created. I want to put on relevant programming so that we introduce the USC community to native cultures.” She is very passionate about educating the USC community about native cultures, because she believes that there is much misunderstanding surrounding natives. A fun fact about her is that an album she would recommend is Love. Angel. Music. Baby by Gwen Stefani. Her advice to future Trojans: “Don't be afraid to put yourself out there and don't be hesitant to tell people what you want to do and who you want to be. Be honest with yourself about what you want to do and do not care what everyone else thinks. The more you tell people you are manifesting it in a type of way the more you become comfortable with yourself is very important - be honest with yourself about what you want to do.”