A Conversation with Minerva Student Natalie

Meet Natalie, a student in the Class of 2019 | Dec, 18, 2017

Quick Facts

Natalie Kanter

Arizona, U.S.A


Social Sciences

Business Development Intern, DoSomething.org


Why did you choose to attend Minerva?
The other colleges I was considering didn’t appeal to me as much as Minerva because they didn’t align with what I wanted to do in life. I didn’t find them to be as intellectually compelling, and I felt they were too close to home. Instead, I applied to Minerva, got accepted, and went to Ascent, the admitted students weekend. It was one of the most spectacular weekends of my life. I interacted with so many incredible humans with completely distinct and diverse personal backgrounds. After that weekend, I knew that I didn’t want to attend a state school located 15 minutes away from home.

What are some of your other passions and interests?
I love dancing and making things by hand, such as sewing and crocheting. I also enjoy going to parks and being surrounded by nature because it makes me feel at peace.

What do you like about Minerva academics?
Minerva’s academics are entirely different from academics at other schools. I recently spoke with a friend who doesn’t attend Minerva and he mentioned that the first session of one of his introductory courses was a 50-minute lecture about the syllabus. We don’t experience that kind of academic lag and series of dull moments at Minerva because we don’t have lectures or static content.

Why did you decide not to attend a school with a traditional campus environment?
It never excited me. It wasn’t just the campus aspect, either. I went on dozens of college tours and remember several moments where I thought the schools’ traditions were not at all exciting to me or relevant to what I hope to do during and after college. What Minerva had to offer — travel, immersive classes, etc. — was much more suited to me.

Tell us about one challenge you are passionate about addressing in the city you live in, or will live in, while at Minerva?
I’m always been fascinated by the social dynamics of the cities we live in. For example, in Berlin, I collaborated with a nonprofit named Kiron. With Kiron, I was able to better understand refugee dynamics and the difficulties that come with education integration. In Seoul, I’m witnessing the challenges of borders and migration in an entirely different context. I would love to one day contribute to an organization that is working to integrate refugees into their new society, since all refugees — no matter where they’re from or where they’re going — face inclusion challenges.

Have you participated in a co-curricular that has changed how you think about the world?
During my first year at Minerva, I participated in a co-curricular with Concrn, an organization that trains community members to respond to crises in the Tenderloin, a San Francisco neighborhood with concentrated rates of poverty and homelessness. It was an incredibly immersive experience; we met with Jacob, Concrn’s founder, and took a tour of the Tenderloin. Immediately after that, we met with a man named Del Seymour who shared his personal experiences in the Tenderloin, having gone from being homeless to founding seven different organizations that aim to lift Tenderloin residents out of the cycle of poverty and homelessness. I was taken and inspired by the intensity of the environment and the dedication that Concrn’s volunteers have for their work and ended up doing my first final project on the organization.

Tell us about your internship at DoSomething.org.
This past summer, I worked as a Business Development Intern at DoSomething.org, the largest tech company exclusively for young people and social change in the world. The organization curates hundreds of campaigns tackling different social issues for young people to engage in their communities. Their ultimate goal is to help establish the most socially conscious, socially responsible, and socially active generation that has ever existed. During my internship, I researched different prospective companies to collaborate with, negotiated possible partnerships, supported existing relationships, sat in on sponsor calls, and sent out hundreds of outreach emails. Unexpectedly, I also had the opportunity to help develop the organization’s current growth funding initiative. I wrote a piece about my entire DoSomething experience on Minerva’s Medium publication.

What was it like interacting with your colleagues?
I loved working in the DoSomething office. Company culture is highly valued at DoSomething, and the company is incredibly diverse. It has been consistently recognized in various rankings for its company culture, communication, and more — in fact, Crains NYC 2017 just ranked DoSomething.org as the 12th best place to work in all of New York City. The intern program is a priority within the organization and is the subject of regular, thoughtful iteration. DoSomething staff treat interns with the same level of respect as anyone else in the office, which creates an environment designed for optimal learning and growth. The whole experience was incredible; in addition, my fellow interns were from various well-known American universities, which was a great opportunity to interact with college students outside of Minerva.

What is one HC you found relevant and useful during your internship?
#confidence: I think much of why I succeeded at DoSomething was because I wasn’t afraid to engage with people of authority and ask questions and raise constructive concerns. I realize that confidence and the ability to communicate clearly is highly valued, especially when you are an intern, as it shows your commitment to learning and improving.

What are you most proud of regarding this experience?
Near the end of my internship, I was able to have a one-on-one meeting with Aria Finger, the CEO, where she told me that she was impressed with my work throughout my internship. She had been traveling and attending conferences for a large portion of the summer, so knowing that she still recognized and appreciated my work made me feel incredibly validated. It’s also worth noting that Aria is one of the professionals I look up to most within the nonprofit sector, which made the conversation that much more incredible.

What do you enjoy most about being a part of the Minerva community?
I have never been, and don’t think I’ll ever again be, surrounded by people with such varying backgrounds, interests, and passions as Minerva students. My peers aren’t afraid to work incredibly hard to fulfill their own interests and to pursue what is worthwhile to them. I love that I can be surrounded by people who inspire me so much.

What would you tell another student who is considering Minerva?
It depends on their personal situation. If they can’t help but notice their unhappiness with traditional education, and they know they could thrive in the kind of environment Minerva provides, then this might be the right place for them. If they are like me, they’ll realize they have a finite amount of days in life, and they’ll be disappointed if they don’t give themselves this chance.

What do you aspire to do when you graduate?
My interests lie in understanding and mitigating the systemic oppression of marginalized communities. While I don’t yet know how those interests will materialize in specific job descriptions, I do know that the experiences I’ve had while at Minerva have reinforced these interests by giving me the opportunity to explore them.

If you were inspired by Natalie's story and are seeking a college experience that will teach you valuable pragmatic skills that will enable you to change the world, apply to join Minerva today.