Initially a pre-medical student at Goucher, Natali Fani changed course to become a double major in political science and international and intercultural relations. Her activist career took off through her extracurricular and co-curricular activities, and now she serves as assistant director of legislative affairs at CASA of Maryland, a community organization serving immigrants from around the world.
Fani came to the United States from her native Venezuela at the age of 17. Although she was active in the Math and Computer Science Club (MaCS) and the Hispanic Organization for Learning and Awareness (HOLA) during her first year, and served as a Goucher Guide, her academic career really took off the year after that.
“I decided to live on campus my sophomore year,” she says. “That’s when everything jumped. I started getting involved with Goucher. It changed everything.”
Her classmates elected her co-president of HOLA, and she landed an internship with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC). “They took me to Arizona, and I was part of their convention, and I learned a lot,” she says. “I started being more politically involved.” She also changed her major to political science and added another one, in international and intercultural studies.
Fani began spending much of her time outside class working in the community, mentoring Latino high-school students and lobbying in Annapolis for tuition and immigration relief for undocumented students who have lived a significant portion of their lives in the United States.
Her work did not go unnoticed. During her senior year, she added to her impressive list of awards and scholarships a New Voices Fellowship from the Academy for Education supporting her position at CASA of Maryland.
Says Fani: “All of the things that I have done, in one way or another, have been through Goucher, either because I was inspired by one of the speakers who came in or because Goucher gave me financial assistance or because the professors said something in class that really got my attention.”