Scholar Profile: Using time in college to delve into poverty, past and future

Author: Sarah Kubinski

Nat Thomas

In the first cohort of students, Nat Thomas '17, has been making the most of her time at Notre Dame and
with the AnBryce Scholars Initiative. “As a first-generation student, you often don’t have a precedent for college navigation, and you often lack social and cultural capital.” AnBryce provides structure and guidelines to help from the start. Nat’s requirement to attend a college fair yielded a summer internship offer. Her meetings with director, Paulette Curtis, help her “concretely reflect” on her interests and plans. And her mentorship with Professor Maria McKenna helps her “grow as an academic and a person”.

One way she is growing, is with an upcoming Shepherd Internship. Notre Dame is part of the Shepherd Internship
Program, which places students from member institutions in service agencies in disadvantaged areas. Professor
Jennifer Warlick, the director of Poverty Studies at Notre Dame, recommended the program last year, however,
the deadline to apply had passed; undaunted, Nat made plans to apply this year. She will be in New Jersey doing
community engagement and outreach for a school district. She has a good academic, political and practical perspective
about her upcoming work, thanks to her sociology and poverty studies work, and is “very excited” about the match.

As Nat discusses her upcoming plans and her time with AnBryce it is readily apparent how grateful she is for
everything. She speaks of the support and encouragement the students give to each other, the guidance from faculty
and staff and the enlightening programming, all “crucial during these formative years”.