University of California, Riverside

Parents Association

Parent Spotlight

Downey Family

The Downeys: Family and Education
By Maria Downey


I am the proud mother of two very accomplished young men, Andres and Mateo Downey. Mateo, my younger son, completed his first year at CSUF where he studies Civil Engineering. Andres, majoring in Sociology and Political Science, will be starting his third year at UCR. Education has been a very important part of our lives. As the child of two very hard-working parents who did not have the opportunity to even finish a 3rd grade education, I learned the importance and the value of education along with a strong work ethic and integrity. I graduated from SDSU with a B.S. in Business Administration emphasis in Finance and later went back to school to obtain a single subject teaching credential in Spanish. Last fall, I started an Administrative Credential program and Masters in Educational Leadership. I have been in education for 15 years and have always shared with my students the importance of education. I have been a Spanish teacher for 15 years and about 3 years ago I was promoted to vice principal of a Catholic School in Redlands. I have been blessed with children who grew up knowing how valuable and important is to receive an education and what better place than the colleges my boys are currently attending.

I remember when my friend Linda invited me to attend a UCR parent meeting during Andres’ freshman year. I was so impressed by the speakers and by Christine Anaya. She made me feel so welcome. After the first meeting, I volunteered to help during parent orientation.  It is such an amazing opportunity to give back and to provide information to parents especially first-time college parents.

UCR is an amazing college that sometimes I feel is taken for granted being so close to us. The university opens countless opportunities to our students. They just have to be willing to take the first step. I am so proud of Andres taking charge of his education and all the opportunities UCR has to offer.  Andres has served as Director of Philanthropy for the Student Alumni Association (SAA) and at the end of winter quarter ('18) he became president- elect for SAA. He was a speaker at the Parents Association winter meeting. What a proud moment for our family seeing our older son speak to a room full of parents of present and future UCR parents!  Words cannot describe how his dad and I felt. 

Andres has also been admitted to the Leadership Pathway Program and is in the Honors Program. His latest accomplishment is to have been selected (along with only four other students) to the two-year Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program. UCR offers so many opportunities to be a well-rounded individual. Andres participated in mock trial, cross country, key club, school paper among other activities. His dad and I are definitely proud of his academic success but we are more proud of his accomplishments as a person. He cares for society; he participates and leads many community service events. We are grateful for everyone that has had an impact in our son’s education at UCR. As my husband Pat Downey says “Live your life like someone is always watching”.  Or as I say do the right thing no matter what. 


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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Riverside, CA 92521-0110

Tel: (951) 827-2586
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