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President Chopp's Introduction of Natalie Bamdad '11

Natalie Bamdad '11

Good morning! I am pleased to introduce you to Natalie Bamdad, who was chosen by her classmates to be their senior class speaker. Natalie graduates today with an honors major in English literature and a course major in psychology. Though Natalie remains open to many possibilities, she has not settled on a career path yet but she is intent — in keeping with a guiding, very Swarthmorean philosophy — and I quote her, "on doing good in the least invasive way I can."

Natalie's Swarthmore career leaves her with a broad range of choices for the future. She arrived at Swarthmore four years ago without any foreknowledge, for example, that she had a talent for making people laugh. Then, having successfully auditioned for the Vertigo-go Improv Comedy Troop, four years later, she was still cracking them up with her act and provided additional relief and release to her fellow students by organizing an annual campus wide comedy weekend.

During summers, Natalie has been a research fellow in psychology, a teaching fellow working with fourth-graders in Brooklyn, N.Y., a legal intern in Washington, D.C.'s Children's Law Center and, also in D.C., at the United Nations Refugee Agency. She took the spring semester of last year off to study Spanish in Buenos Aires, where she also volunteered as an English teacher for low-income adults and taught children at an HIV/AIDS health center. With these activities I'd amend this accounting to say that she took the semester away, not "off!" This range of thematically connected experiences suggests to her a possible future of engagement in educational or human rights policy arenas.

Natalie's contributions to the campus community and beyond, combining a gift for humor and for connecting through her warmth and keen intellect to a diverse range of communities, assures a future of "doing good" that will always make us proud that today she becomes a Swarthmore alum.

I am delighted to welcome her to the podium as the speaker for the Class of 2011. Natalie!

Read Natalie Bamdad's address.