Native American Mariah Snooks is living her dream through education |

Native American Mariah Snooks is living her dream through education

Western Nevada College

Although Mariah Snooks is living a couple hours northwest of the Yomba Reservation, she hasn’t forgotten her Native American people and the childhood memories she has because of them.

What Mariah is accomplishing in her young adult life can only bring smiles to the faces of Yomba Shoshone Tribal members and her relatives in Gabbs, near the Reese River in Central Nevada.

“I know a lot of them are proud of me and they expressed that to me,” Mariah said. “A lot of my family is that way … they are really proud of where I’m going and that I’ve accomplished so much.”

She graduated from Western Nevada College with an associate of arts degree on May 20, three days after receiving her high school diploma at Oasis Academy in Fallon.

Mariah, who is 25 percent Shoshone and 12.5 Paiute Indian, spent most of her preteen years near the Yomba Reservation in Gabbs. However, following her mother’s death when she was 8, Mariah moved with her father, Ron, and stepmother, Monica, to Fallon to start a new life.

“It was pretty difficult to leave because of all of my family was there,” Mariah said. “I grew up with my cousins and they all still live there. Moving was really hard for me to make new friends. Fallon was a lot bigger than Gabbs.”

Mariah’s grandfather, Ronnie, is the chairman of the Yomba Shoshone Tribal Council. She remembers her grandfather telling her stories about when he was young and learning through her tribe’s outdoor activities.

“When I was younger, we’d ride horses and hang out when they were branding cows,” she said. “We’d also have Yomba Nature Days, a young kids camp on the reservation where we’d learn how to do things. I learned how to split willows.

“It’s still cool to go back to see and learn about our culture.”

Adjusting to a new culture took some time for Mariah, but she has thrived because of her commitment to education and a desire to work hard.

“Any challenge she has been presented with, she has set a goal and achieved it,” Monica said. “She’s definitely a pillar of her Native American community. She’s done community service, been employed, she’s an all-star athlete and excelling in her schoolwork; it’s amazing to see her do all that.”

The Jump Start program through WNC allowed Mariah to earn an associate of arts degree during her junior and senior years at Oasis Academy.

“It’s put me ahead in the game, which I’m thankful for,” Mariah said. “I’m the first of my immediate family to earn a degree.”

What brings even more pride to Monica and Ron is that Mariah has been preparing for the next step in her life.

“She’s not stopping,” Monica said. “She’s applied for 22 scholarships and been awarded four. She’s preparing for where she is going to live and has a year of car insurance set up.”

Ron works 80 miles away from his family in Gabbs but still finds time to coach youth sports. Like his daughter, he sees the value of higher education, taking college courses to pursue a business degree.

“I couldn’t be more proud of her for how hard she’s worked, setting goals, striving for them and following through with them,” he said.

Next, Mariah plans to attend the University of Nevada, Reno and study pharmacy, then work on a doctorate degree. She attended an orientation at UNR with her family on Thursday.

“I’ve always wanted to study in the medical field,” Mariah said. “I have a desire to help and serve people. I really love chemistry and biology, which I’m good at. Pharmacy has always interested me, the different medications, the different things that go into them and how they cure certain diseases.

“I’ve always valued education as something I wanted to do to get out of a small town. This is my dream.”

Capitalize on Variety of Classes, Express Classes, Credentials, Military Credit for Fall Semester

With fall classes at Western Nevada College’s Fallon campus starting in two months, now is the time to prepare and benefit from the power that higher education can bring to your life.

Individuals have more than 70 classes in Fallon to choose from, including criminal justice, accounting, computer information technology, welding, automotive mechanics, emergency medical services, social work, nursing, psychology and more. Some of these programs offer full scholarships, and individuals can apply at

For those wanting to go to work quickly or elevate their pay or work expertise, Western offers a number of programs with certifications and credentials, including bookkeeping, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical services, welding and automotive mechanics.

WNC is also honoring military experience for credit. Submit your official Joint Services or Air Force transcript for evaluation. Receive up to 45 credits toward a 60-credit associate of general studies degree.

There are also options for students who want to complete an English or math class quicker. Accelerated classes for Basic Writing III (ENG 98), Composition I (ENG 101), Intermediate Algebra (MATH 96) and Fundamentals of College Mathematics (MATH 120) allow students to complete core classes in eight weeks.

If you are a new to WNC, the first step is to apply for admission. Go to or call the campus at 775-423-7565.

Benefit from Social Work Transfer Degree Collaboration with UNR

Starting this fall, individuals interested in social work can study at WNC as part of a collaboration between Western and the University of Nevada, Reno.

Students will be able to take an additional 21 credits of junior level coursework at WNC while co-enrolled at UNR to complete their bachelor of social work degree.

For the fall semester, “Introduction to Social Work,” “Crisis Intervention” and “Structural Oppression” are being offered on the Fallon campus.

For information, call 775-423-7565.

Receive Fall Admission, Registration Help in Fernley on Tuesdays

In preparation for additional Western Nevada College classes being offered in Fernley in the fall, individuals can receive admissions, financial aid and enrollment assistance on Tuesdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m. in the Fernley Library at 575 Silver Lace Blvd.

Business, criminal justice, information systems, history, Spanish and social work classes will be available.

In addition, WNC is offering an eight-week Fernley Express program. These classes will be offered in the evenings to accommodate the schedules of working adults.

New students can get started by applying for admission at