Campus News

‘Beautiful thing to do’

Student recipient of 2018 Dream Award credits her parents for teaching importance of giving back.

Natalie Morean’s parents instilled in her the importance of giving back.

As a 2018 recipient of UGA’s President’s Fulfilling the Dream Award, the third-year human development and family science major gives back to the UGA and Athens communities in many ways. Her reason for doing so is simple.

“Students don’t necessarily always recognize that Athens-Clarke County is one of the poorest counties in the entire state of Georgia,” she said. “It’s really about going outside and seeing past your own privilege and recognizing that there are other people.”

Morean is currently the president of the National Council of Negro Women, a member of the university’s Black Affairs Council and a Fellow in the Leaders Engaged in Affirming Diversity program with UGA’s Office of Institutional Diversity.

She also has been an orientation leader, the community services director for the National Council for Negro Women and a mentor for the Mentoring Among Peers program at UGA’s College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as the Athens-Clarke County Mentorship program.

Morean planned to pursue a career in medicine when she enrolled at UGA. But she changed her major during her sophomore year to pursue a career that will let her work with families.

“I’m the oldest of four children, so everything’s really been family-oriented for me,” said Morean, who grew up in Locust Grove. “And my mom ran a family daycare at home, so there were always a ton of children in our house when I was growing up. Family has always been really important to me.”

Traveling to other parts of the world makes you more appreciative for your own home.” — Natalie Morean

After graduating next spring, Morean plans to pursue an advanced degree in public health and start a non-profit organization to combat hunger and malnutrition in low-income communities. She learned about nonprofit organizations through UGA’s College of Family and Consumer Sciences.

“You really start to hear about nonprofits and see the good that people are doing for others,” Morean said. “I really want to be a part of something like that.”

Morean’s desire to help others will go beyond Athens and UGA this summer when she travels to Accra, Ghana, to take part in a four-week service-learning study abroad program.

“In addition to seeing a different part of the world—I’ve never been to Africa—I’m most looking forward to working in a children’s hospital where I will study public health and nutrition,” said Morean, who sees another benefit to visiting other countries.

“Traveling to other parts of the world makes you more appreciative for your own home,” she said. “You realize that the world is so much bigger than Athens, the world is so much bigger than the state of Georgia, the world is so much bigger than the United States.”

Morean said she is humbled to be recognized by the university for her involvement in the UGA and Athens communities.

“To know that you’re affecting other people and you’re helping other people so much that somebody else notices makes me grateful,” Morean said. “Helping others is such a beautiful thing to do.

“You never help others for recognition, but to be the recipient of a Fulfilling the Dream Award—such a high honor at UGA—is also such a humbling experience,” she also said. “It has been the peak so far of my time at UGA.”