Natali Heater

International Experience Country:
Cohort Year:
Home Institution:

University of Pittsburgh | Bradford

Natali is a current sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford majoring in forensic science and minoring in psychology. She is originally from Easton, PA but was raised in various parts of Oklahoma. With her degree, she hopes to work at the federal level for the FBI or NCIS in a lab, as well as criminal profiling and she would like to earn a master's in criminology. Natali has many hobbies including reading fantasy novels, watching true crime documentaries, drinking coffee, and working at the CSI house on campus. In the VIH program, Natali hopes to learn more about cultural differences within the medical community, especially with mental health.  
International Experience Summary:

Natali Heater spent 4 weeks abroad in Dublin, Ireland studying child psychology as a Vira I. Heinz scholarship recipient. This class covered the mental illnesses a child can develop as well as the relationships between the child and their environment or family. This course was important for Natali’s future criminology degree. She found that children in Ireland are much less supervised and generally have fewer developmental disorders than children in the States because of the different environmental challenges both sets of children face. When she wasn’t in class, Natali liked to walk through Dublin and went on trips to Galway, the Aran Islands, Dun Laoghaire, and Glendalough. One of the most exciting things she did was going to the Cliffs of Moher, where she climbed the rebuilt fort originally built in the 1st century named O’Brien’s Tower, which helped name the cliffs “Mothar” in Gaelic means “ruined fort.” The entire experience helped Natali step out of her comfort zone and she is excited to encourage other students to have their own study abroad experiences as Vira I. Heinz cohorts.  

Community Engagement Experience Summary:

CEE Report: A Bench is not a Home

Our Community Engagement Experience informed our campus community on the importance of creating safe housing and better access to food because it’s not just an issue here in Bradford, Pennsylvania, but also an issue for other states and countries and it’s not being handled very well in most places. This CEE brought our cultural experiences in our own locality and ties it into our experiences in our host countries, as it shows a bigger issue in the world, and brainstorms possible solutions using Sweden as a building block. Two of us went to Dublin, Ireland so we experienced a lot of the same things, but our group member went to Sweden, where the issue is less visible and is handled better. We also brought in our experience of being in Bradford and seeing this community struggle as it is underfunded and does not have as many resources as a bigger town or city would. This community is a very tight knit, but unfortunately, that also means that the issues within the town and constituents are kept under wraps for the most part. The most obvious place where homelessness and food insecurity plague people in this town is the college, as people come from almost everywhere in the country for an education and they all come from different circumstances. This CEE also brought the group together as we realized there was a common need in our area for more secure housing and access to nutrition, as there are students that need to stay over breaks because they’re international or just don’t have good home lives, and unfortunately, there is not anything in place for those students to have access to food, or housing, when they do need to go back to their home cities and towns. This is also a very small campus in a fairly small town, so this issue is more hidden than if we were in New York City, but it is still present and affects many people on this campus in varying degrees, from not having permanent housing at all to having to live with grandparents to only having secure food access on campus.