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Natalie Shaw is a Harford Community College alumna who makes us very proud. She is currently pursuing a law degree at the University of Richmond School of Law while holding down a full-time job as an admissions analyst.
Prior to coming to HCC, Natalie was a student at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. After coming down with a serious illness that put her in the hospital for a week, her doctor felt she needed to recover at home, not in a dorm, so she returned to Abingdon. Natalie is not the kind of person who is content to sit at home, so she enrolled at Harford. Natalie excelled in her coursework at HCC and was invited to become a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society.
Because Harford accepted all of her AP credits from high school, she was able to complete her AA in just three semesters, saving her time and money. She earned an Associate of Arts degree in English and History in 2010. Unsure of what she wanted to do next, her professors proved to be excellent resources on college options and majors.
Natalie found HCC to be a great transition school for her. She said, “. . . just because a school is small does not mean it lacks any academic resources. In fact, smaller schools are in many ways much better: students have easier access to faculty, library materials, classes, and advisors. The academic advisory team is incredible; they were my rocks from the very first day I arrived on campus, and I looked for that combination of warmth and knowledge when I applied to earn my bachelor’s and my law degrees.”
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies: English, History, and Creative Writing from the University of Baltimore in 2012. At commencement she received the Student Service Award, which is awarded for significant contributions to student life at the university. Her poetry has been published in literary magazines at UB and Richmond University. To date, Natalie has completed 2 ½ years of law school, and she received the Ally of the Year Award for Continuing Education Students at Richmond Law this spring for her work with the LGBTQ community on campus and in the city of Richmond.
When looking back upon her years at Harford, Natalie said that what most surprised her was the diversity. She was often the youngest in a class, had a different upbringing than many, and a different background than most of the students. She said there were students who had real resumes and were looking for a career change as well as those who had families and were looking to earn their first degree. “I loved the different opinions and stories; they made class more lively and the learning more of an engagement than a passive experience,” stated Natalie.
A Harford County girl who graduated from The John Carroll School, she attributes her success to having a wonderful family life as she was growing up and parents who taught her that she could be anything she wanted to be. “Taking that idea into the world and combining it with a strong work ethic and constant eye both to the future and inward, I am able to strive toward my goals. The factor I attribute most to my success is knowing who I am . . .”
Natalie highly recommends HCC to others. “The opportunities available when transferring from Harford to Maryland four-year-schools are some of the best kept secrets around. There are scholarships only available to students transferring from a community college to a four-year-school, and, if you earn your associate degree before transferring, you are guaranteed to transfer 60 of you credits -- no more general education requirements and two full years closer to graduation! She continued, “Beyond the academic benefits are the personal benefits of going to a school that is welcoming and open to whatever dreams its students have.”
She added, “I look back on my time at Harford with amazing memories, knowing that my time there prepared me to take on the world.”
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