It’s also why he enrolled at Willamette.
“Willamette helps expand your world view,” he says. “It helps you learn new things about yourself.”
Attracted by Willamette’s close, friendly community, the Naperville, Illinois, native is intent on exploring everything the university has to offer.
He’s taken classes in ballet, Russian film, creative writing and art history, and for the past three years, he’s worked as a tour guide for the Office of Admission.
During tours, visitors pepper Andreoni with questions about majors, housing and campus life. But one time, a high school guidance counselor asked something for which he had no answer.
“She asked me to quickly name three things I’d change about this place,” Andreoni laughs. “I couldn’t come up with anything.”
Fueled by his desire to help others, Andreoni majored in sociology and spent a year tutoring students at nearby Chemawa Indian School. The experience cemented his interest in social work.
“I really enjoyed having an impact, even by doing something as small as helping students with their math homework,” he says. “It opened my eyes to see life from a new perspective.”
Another milestone for Andreoni was contributing to a summer-long research project at the Oregon State Capitol. Working with sociology professor Janet Lorenzen, Andreoni looked at patterns of success and failure in environmental policy making.
He observed and conducted interviews, coded the transcripts to note similarities, and helped craft a paper about grassroots activism. Lorenzen submitted the paper to the American Sociological Association for its August conference in Seattle.
“Mark is interested in talking to people face-to-face and learning more about their lives,” she says. “He sees people as individuals with interesting stories and he wants to help them.”
Andreoni will use his people skills this semester at Center for Hope & Safety, a local organization that helps survivors of domestic violence and assault.
For his internship, he will start a men’s discussion group to better address how masculinity is defined and demonstrated in today’s society.
“I like the opportunity to work with people and help solve problems,” Andreoni says. “I want to make a difference.”