- Paul Sherman/Daily
By Tanya Madhani, Daily Staff Reporter
Published April 12, 2015
LSA senior Natasha Dabrowski's face turned red from "talking about herself" and her nomination for Student of the Year.
The Statement is The Michigan Daily's weekly news magazine, distributed every Wednesday during the academic year.
“I’m truly humbled by this,” she said. “I do feel like I’ve been a really hard worker on campus, but I know that there are a lot of people that put in a lot of time and energy and effort into making this campus a better place.”
Dabrowski is LSA Student Government president and an active member of the Michigan Club Tennis team and Delta Gamma sorority. But she was more than willing to take time out of her busy schedule to discuss her nomination.
Throughout the conversation, Dabrowski speaks expressively, but cautiously about her achievements on campus — modest about her role in impacting her larger campus community and never failing to give credit to those who have helped her in achieving her goals.
Dabrowski served as a student representative on the Race and Ethnicity Subcommittee responsible for updating the requirement for the coming school year. She was also responsible for creating a religion minor through the University’s History department, which she was the first student to complete.
“I did this not without the help of many other students on LSA student government and administrators,” Dabrowski said. “I came to campus recognizing a lack of an overarching major or minor or program where students could learn about a lot of different things rather than study one specific ethnic studies or religious studies course.”
Diversity is important to Dabrowski. Her family, she said, hosted a foreign exchange student almost every year while she was in high school, and, while she valued the international exposure, she still found it limiting.
“Here on campus I’ve been able to work with international students, with transfer students, with students from all across the nation, students who have totally different political and religious beliefs than myself,” Dabrowski said. “The University in a lot of ways can create spaces for you to talk about those even for students who might not self-select to create those conversations. It’s easy to just go through college and just take classes and focus on your studies, but I’ve been so much more enriched by all of the organizational and academic experiences pushing me to go beyond the classroom.”
Dabrowski endured a long process of creating proposals and doing research at both the University and peer institutions to judge the feasibility of creating the new program. Her work culminated in speaking in front of the History department, from whom she received the support to continue shaping the logistics of the new minor.
“It’s still, to date — my LSA student government adviser jokes — the fastest student government project we’ve had ever,” Dabrowski added.
But Dabrowski is a determined person and navigating the bureaucracy of the University is something that comes naturally to her, according to LSA senior Corey Walsh, LSA SG vice presiden.
“It’s definitely something that does not come easily to many people, but with Natasha, it’s like a dance," Walsh said. "She always knows who exactly to be speaking to, always has the perfect agenda and always has a next step, whereas a lot of people face roadblocks and give up because they think it’s an unattainable task, but with her it’s always ‘here’s our next venue, this is where we’re going next, I’ll see you at the next meeting.’”
It’s Dabrowski’s friendly and energetic personality, Walsh said, that really motivates their projects and their agendas as student government executives.
“Something that’s most striking to me about (Dabrowski) is the emotional contagion that she has,” Walsh said. “She exudes this energy and light that’s so contagious for all of the other people that she spends time with. Being around her you always feel engaged and you always want to care about what she cares about because of the emotion that she exudes.”
But out of all of her experiences on campus, Dabrowski said she will miss the people who have supported and guided her here most of all when she graduates in May.
“In my senior year I’ve been able to make even more friends and meet even more people,” she said. “I think that has created such an unforgettable friendship that I know those relationships will go beyond the campus, but they thrive so much here. A couple of months from now, I won’t be able to go down the street and be able to see five of my friends. I’ll have to fly across the country perhaps. The relationships that you create and form from all of these transformative experiences are ones that I will miss the most. I’ll continue them, but they’re just going to be different.”
Continuing her government and policy-making involvement, Dabrowski said she is eyeing a few public policy and PR positions in Washington, D.C. after graduating.
“I’m still navigating my future,” Dabrowski said. “As of right now, the nature of politics is that doors open very quickly.”