Natalie Bouyett, a master’s student in the School of Social Work, has taken her education in management of nonprofit organizations and successfully put it to work in the community.

Degree objective:

Master of Arts in management of nonprofit organizations

Other degrees:

Bachelor of Science in dietetics (Advisee: Alex Anderson)

University highlights, achievements and awards:

During my studies I have engaged in fieldwork experiences and internships. My fieldwork took place at Real LEDGE (Leading Economic Development through Global Entrepreneurship) to bring experiential and transformative education to aspiring entrepreneurs of Latino communities. Through this organization I coordinated the 28th and 29th International Entrepreneurship Institute in Hilton Head, South Carolina. I oversaw the training of 100 instructors from several Georgia counties, four states, and three countries including Honduras. I have continued to offer support to the various schools from Athens-Clarke County that attended the training, including Coile Middle School and Cedar Shoals High School. Support to these schools has included securing over $20,000 of funding for programs/materials and identifying expertise at the University of Georgia to support the various programs at the schools used for teaching entrepreneurship through experiential learning. However, I will now focus my energy on developing a youth entrepreneurship program, Puertas Abiertas (Open Doors), at Latino faith/community-based organizations to train children on how to open and operate their own business and introduce them to minority business owners to demonstrate their potential is limitless.

During the fall of 2014, I was contacted by the director of UGA’s Latin American and Caribbean Studies Institute and invited to work as one of the coordinators for a new program, PORTAL. I took this internship to work with the PORTAL team to link UGA resources, including faculty and students, to Latino-serving organizations and leaders to build the capacity and effectiveness of community-based work. I developed programs, assisted in the first ever Latino Community Needs Assessment in Athens, and increased the network of partners working together on local Latino issues. This fall I will continue to partner with PORTAL, the nonprofit program and the University of West Georgia to finish the needs assessment and begin building a statewide asset map of Latino-serving organizations to enhance communication and partnerships between UGA and organizations in need of our services.

Family Ties to UGA:

I’m the only Dawg in the family.

I chose to attend UGA because...

I am proud to call myself a “Future Double Dawg,” having completed my undergrad in 2012 and expecting my master’s this December. I decided to return for my master’s after I spent a couple years working through the Office of Service-Learning and at various nonprofits in Athens doing community projects developing programs for Latino/Hispanic communities. It was through this work that I was able to get to know various departments and individuals at UGA with similar passions in Latino Community Outreach. As I began to collaborate with university and community-based organizations to rebuild and expand services, I was asked to step in as interim director at the Athens Latino Center for Education and Services. It was while I filled this role I first discovered the Master of Arts in management of nonprofit organizations offered through the school of Social Work. This program is uniquely positioned to include learning from some of the most experienced nonprofit leaders, specializations from almost every UGA department, and opportunities for real life experiences available throughout Athens-Clarke County. I was interested in the practical and theoretical approaches to organizational leadership that would allow me to build and empower organizations of my community and I have accomplished some meaningful impacts to organizations and communities even before graduating.

My favorite things to do on campus are...

My favorite thing to do on campus is to meet with faculty, staff and students to discuss community issues. I know that isn’t a typical answer but it wasn’t until I left the university after my undergrad that I realized how much it really has to offer. There are so many brilliant minds and students thirsting for more fulfilling university experiences that don’t know how to connect with the community in a meaningful way. Therefore, I have helped to coordinate several university grants, many outreach projects and hundreds of student volunteer hours by utilizing the university’s resources to make a change in someone’s life whether student or an Athens-Clarke County local. Seeing students grow while helping someone in need is an immensely gratifying experience and definitely my favorite way to spend my time on campus.

When I have free time, I like...

When I am not working, studying or planning another project you can typically find me practicing or performing Latin dance. I love salsa, bachata and merengue because it is the only time I can forget everything and be in the moment.

My favorite place to study is...

When the weather is right, any of UGA’s beautiful gardens, especially the Founders Memorial Garden on North Campus, otherwise at home in my PJs is great.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with...

I am always looking out for great role models, especially women who could offer relevant advice for my career. There have been a couple of women like that that I have come across and have been fortunate enough to be able to spend time with and hopefully I will meet and get to know many more. I would recommend that any student or young professional find mentors and seek to grow from these role models as much as possible.

If I knew I could not fail, I would...

...establish a beautiful Latino/Hispanic community center that would showcase the rich histories and cultures of Latin American countries while providing services locally and with mobility to reach the scattered Latin communities across Georgia … but who said I wasn’t already trying wink

If money was not a consideration, I would love to...

...travel throughout Central and South America. I have met so many people either from those countries, who have lived there for a year or visited that I would like to get all their recommendations and go on an adventure eating the best food, seeing the best natural attractions, buying artwork and dancing my way through it all.

After graduation, I plan to...

...continue my work with faith-based and community organizations. I am exploring my options to stay in Athens since it has been a wonderful community to get to know and work with, but looking for more professional growth outside of Athens to return with more experience is a possibility too.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be...

I have had a lot of personal lows and many highs at UGA. This place has seen me fail a time or two but fortunately I have had many occasions to ring the victory bell and each one of those occasions are equally unforgettable! But there is nothing like walking across the stage at graduation and while undergrad was great I can foresee my upcoming graduation for my master’s program as being a cornerstone in my memories of UGA.

This Featured Alumni piece was amended from: http://www.uga.edu/amazing/profile/bouyett-natalie/

Tags: natalie bouyett, fdn, alumni