Brought To You By NSU; Written by Leah Jackson

Natalie Mangandi of Shreveport, a senior at Northwestern State University, will graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, but through her involvement with many campus organizations, realized that the career path she is most suited for is helping others navigate their academic challenges.  After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at NSU.  

Mangandi, a graduate of Captain Shreve High School, is a member of Sigma Sigma Sigma Sorority, Purple Jackets, Demon Volunteers in Progress and Order of Omega and was elected to NSU’s Homecoming Honor Court. She is a Presidential Leadership Program mentor, a member of the Demon Mentor Network and served as a freshman orientation leader.  She is employed at a downtown boutique, as well as NSU’s Office of First Year Experience, where she channels her love for NSU and was able to travel to France on a recruiting trip.  

Mangandi sat down with NSU to talk about the rewards of her college career, her plans for the future and how skills she learned in psychology can be utilized in a student affairs career. The conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.  

NSU:  Can you talk about how your involvement has enhanced your experience at NSU? 


Natalie:  I’ve been involved in many different things. I feel like it brought me out of my shell and made me who I am. It brought a confidence out of me that I didn’t know I had.   


NSU: Can you summarize yourself in a few words? 


Natalie:  I’m very bubbly.  I’m very goofy and I can say now that I’m very confident, thanks to NSU.  


NSU: Why did you opt for grad school in student affairs and what career path do you plan to  



Natalie:  The mentors I’ve had at NSU have really shown me who I am.  I would love to do that for students in the future and help them find themselves the way my mentors helped me find me.  


NSU: Why did you select psychology for your major:  


Natalie:  I had a passion for it.  I took it as a core class and loved it.  Before I chose to do student affairs I wanted to be an ABA [Applied Behavior Analysis] specialist but I realized that wasn’t the direction I need to go. Either way I know I’ll be helping people and mentoring people.   


NSU:  Is there anything surprising you learned about yourself through the psychology program?  


Natalie:  I learned how much I like to help people and how amazing the human mind is.   


NSU:  What do you like to do in your downtime?   


Natalie:  I love to hang out with my friends and family.  I’m very much a homebody and very family-oriented.  


NSU:  As a Connector, you’ve met first-time students who may be nervous about college or finding themselves here.  What are some strategies for breaking the ice and getting new students engaged with NSU?   


Natalie:  I’m going to pull a [Vice President for the Student Experience and Dean of Students ]Reatha Cox right here and say, “Meet five new people every single day.”  [As for strategies] making sure they feel comfortable and at home and making sure they know they are wanted here and they are part of a family now. Getting them involved and helping them find their place and their confidence.  


NSU:  What do you say to prospective students interested in NSU?     


Natalie:  We are very family-oriented, so get ready to get out of your shell. This is a place where, if you really want to find yourself, this is a great start.  On this campus, you will have people who know your name and make you feel loved and appreciated.  


NSU:  How do you think your work in the First Year Experience Office will enhance you student affairs degree? 


Natalie:  Working at the First Year Experience Office really set my love for student affairs.  Mary-Katherine Maggio [director of Fraternal Leadership and Civic Engagement], one of my mentors, and Reatha Cox both said, “You will do great things in this program.” Working with them and letting them see my work style throughout my four years here have really shown who I am.  They saw a confidence in me that I didn’t see in myself.  


NSU:  How will elements you learned in psychology degree help in student affairs?  


Natalie:  Being in psychology but going into something different helps me in how I deal with people, how I communicate, understanding how people work and understanding different behavioral styles.  


NSU:  Do you have a favorite memory of NSU?  


Natalie:  I have so many.  Going to France and being on Homecoming Court. I was asked by [NSU President] Dr. Marcus Jones and Reatha to go to France to recruit international students.  I got to go with some of my best friends that I started freshman year with, and we got experience that together and make memories for our last year at NSU.  


NSU:  Can you talk about how important it is to be involved on campus? 


Natalie:  It’s very important you get involved on campus because Natchitoches is such a small town and NSU is a small community.  There are so many ways to make connections.  I got to go to France because I made connections.  If you don’t get involved, you’re not doing college the right way. These are some of the best four years of your life.  You might as well do it 110 percent and make memories.   


NSU:  Why did you choose NSU? 


Natalie:  I toured many other campuses and I felt very stressed and overwhelmed.  As soon as I stepped on NSU’s campus I met the past president [Dr. Chris Maggio] and he made me feel so welcome.  I knew this is the place I need to be.  


NSU:  What would you say to someone on the fence about attending NSU? 


Natalie: I have met some of my best friends here.  I made so many connections. I found what I finally want to do.  I’ve had mentors guide me. Everyone you put yourself out there with will know your name.  

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