Natalie Petit '12 - National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP)


"My passion is helping others," says Natalie Petit, who graduated from Curry College in 2012 with a double major in Criminal Justice and Politics and History. "I've always liked law enforcement, politics and community organizing, and I enjoy helping people improve, especially juveniles who've been in trouble with the law and are on probation, or students willing to excel."

Not only did she successfully double major at Curry, but she received double Master's degrees after Curry as well, in Crime and Justice Studies and Public Administration.

At Curry, Natalie enjoyed exploring the relationship between helping people reform within the criminal justice system and understanding how politics affects the laws that are created to achieve society's goals. "I always believe something good can be found in everyone," said Natalie. "Learning more about probation and the legal system is teaching me how I can be part of the recovery process and help people improve their lives."

Although she had lots of favorite classes, Natalie says Introduction to Politics and History really opened her eyes about how politics relates to life. Natalie expanded that awareness through a hands-on internship with the Governor's Council at the Massachusetts Statehouse, where she handled notary public filings and sat in on Governor's Council meetings with the Lieutenant Governor as judicial nominations were approved. "I learned a lot about the way politics operates at the state level and the different styles of government," said Natalie.

One of Natalie's favorite professors? That would be Kathleen O'Donnell in the Politics and History department. "She was always telling me, 'I'm just trying to be your No. 1 Fan,'" says Natalie. "That's what makes Curry such a great place."

Natalie came to Curry College from Lowell, Mass., when her high school counselor recommended a campus visit. "As soon as I went to Curry's Admission Office, I knew this was the place for me," said Natalie. "My classes were small and the professors were very supportive. It felt like a home away from home."

Getting involved in campus activities also expanded Natalie's view of her possibilities. She could be found almost everywhere! As a project manager in the Student Center, Natalie helped promote campus events, oversaw the office, and worked out event logistics. "Anyone can be active at Curry," says Natalie. "I went to the Student Activities Office right away because I knew I wanted to learn how clubs and organizations functioned at Curry and to see which ones would be right for me." As a result, she joined Curry Cares, the Politics & History Club - where she served as co-president - and the Multicultural Club. Natalie also became part of the Student Government Association (SGA) and the Pre-Law Club; as well as a resident assistant who liked planning social activities for her floor.

In addition to her campus leadership and accomplishments, Natalie was selected to attend the week-long National Education for Women in Leadership conference, sponsored by the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at St. Anselm College, where she networked with lawyers and elected officials while learning more about politics, lobbyists and differences in how states handle key issues. In 2009, Natalie launched the Women of Excellence community forum that honored four area women in science, politics and other fields, and brought to campus a number of speakers who shared their life experiences and networked with Curry students. In 2010, Natalie was instrumental in the creation of the Lieutenant Governor Candidate Forum held on Curry's campus, with media coverage provided by students from Curry's Communication department.

Natalie also took advantage of the writing assistance offered by Curry's Academic Performance Center. "I really gained confidence about my writing, how I approach a subject, finding the right words to use, how to connect the dots, how to organize my thoughts and get them on paper."

When she wasn't in class, Natalie enjoyed hanging out in the Student Center, the Student Activities Office or the North Campus Residence Hall where she lived. "You can always find someone to talk to, see others you know or catch up on homework," said Natalie. On weekends, she was involved with church groups and a ministry that travels to cities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, including Brockton, Waltham and Providence.

"My experiences at Curry really broadened my view of my career and my life," says Natalie. "Now I'm thinking about becoming a detective, a community organizer, a politician or maybe starting a youth community center as an entrepreneur. With my Curry education, I feel like I have lots of options throughout my life."

She received double master's degrees after Curry in crime and justice studies and public administration. She now works as an associate director of operations at the National Alliance for the Advancement of Haitian Professionals (NAAHP).


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