Natalie Saavedra, a third-year student at Westminster College, is an active student leader that focuses her efforts on racial inequality faced by students on campus and in the surrounding community. For three years she has been involved with Westminster Students Advocating for Youth (S.A.Y.), a mentoring club on campus which pairs a college student for an academic year with a student from a diverse South Salt Lake Junior High who belongs to an underrepresented background. Those students are then helped with homework, understanding college access, and personalized advice and support from a college student. She has also been heavily involved with the LatinX club on campus, seeking to create a community of support and celebration of Hispanic/ Latin American cultures. Natalie is working with fellow students to take the club to a national conference which will allow LatinX members to learn new leadership skills and encourage discussions on campus revolving around underrepresented communities. While she is closely working with these two clubs, she seeks to work with the community off campus by being an academic coach for UVU's GEAR UP program at East High, a college readiness program provided for low-income underrepresented students.
I have always been interested in racial inequality, as it is something I am incredibly aware of as a Latina woman. Throughout my schooling, I learned how my racial identity influenced the thoughts and actions of individuals around me, and how sometimes I'd be seen for my race rather than my goals and achievements. Arriving at college has provided me with knowledge of the social systems in place that restrict certain individuals with marginalized identities, and has helped me realize the privileges I have that allow me to speak out against these issues. On campus, I am the President of Westminster Students Advocating for Youth, a club that pairs undergraduate students with junior high students from diverse and underrepresented backgrounds for an academic year, the mentorship established helps the student understand college access, provides homework help, and a person that can connect with the student to answer questions about life after middle school. I am also Vice President of the LatinX Club on campus, which aims to celebrate the various cultures of Latin America, bring awareness to social issues faced by the community, and work with schools in the area to spread information about college access and the college experience.