The Gustavian Weekly

Natalie Jo Baker: Livin’ the dream | The Gustavian Weekly

By Lindsay Lelivelt Features Editor | May 14, 2010 | Variety

Natalie’s friends admire her persistance and her whole-hearted drive toward anything she wants. After graduation, Natalie hopes to continue to work for Habitat for Humanity in Rochester, Minn. Lindsay Lelivelt.

Senior History Major Natalie Jo Baker knows a thing or two about a thing or two on campus. She can frequently be seen riding around campus on her bicycle, the Free Spirit, or hanging out in the art building. Natalie is involved in Delta Phi Omega, works for the Career Center and is an intern for the Gustavus chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Natalie’s trademark wit, constant hand gesturing and enthusiasm for life help her to stand out from the crowd. “I admire her constant energy and confidence. She knows what she wants and goes for it. She puts her heart and soul into what inspires her. It motivates me to do the same. Her absolute love for life is unequaled. She is truly a free spirit and is a blast to be around,” Senior Biology Major Erica Flinn said. “She makes campus a fun place. I look forward to the opportunity to run into her because she is a bright light in a place that can be extremely stressful.”

Senior Environmental Studies Major Lucas Neher agreed. “In spending time around Natalie, it is evident that she puts her humor and character into her passions,” Neher said.

Natalie has worked for the Career Center since she was a first-year. “My sister had a friend that worked in the Career Center, and when I started at Gustavus I figured working in an office was the dream. Well, really I wanted to be a waitress, but an office was good enough,” Natalie said. “I love the camaraderie with the student workers on the staff. Everybody is really great, and sometimes they give me real responsibilities and I respect them for that. I like helping other people figure out their lives because it helps me figure out my own.”

She has also been involved in the sorority Delta Phi Omega. “At first I was hesitant to join the sorority because the Greek system here is really different, but I found that it actually was a good fit and I did make a lot of friends in the Deltas. Plus, everybody looks good in maroon. And when I say everyone, I mean I do,” she said.

“I met [Natalie] when we were [first-year] roomies and am now a Delta with her. She is spontaneous, fun loving and always down to learn something new,” friend and Senior Communication Studies Major Emma Moreau said. “Natalie is great because she always makes you laugh when you are feeling down. After we roomed together, I was thrilled she decided to pledge Deltas because she is such a hoot, and I knew she would make the Deltas fun. I love her because she loves who she is, and she inspires me to do the same.”

In her junior year, Natalie studied abroad in Florence, Italy. “I’m ready for real life now that I’ve studied abroad. It blew my mind, and it doesn’t seem like it was real anymore but it was. It was such a great experience. I think everyone, if they have the opportunity, should go abroad,” Natalie said.

This year, Natalie devoted a lot of her time to working as an intern for the Gustavus chapter of Habitat for Humanity. “I worked really hard, got super jacked. Impressed a lot of people. Duh. Miami was a choice. A 12-passenger van for 37 hours isn’t healthy for anyone, but it was one of the best experiences I’ve had at Gustavus in the past four years. There’s no escaping bonding with the 12 people in your van for two days straight,” Natalie said. “My sophomore year I went to New Orleans, and it was absolutely fantastic.The bus ride was strenuous at best. It was the first time I met people at [Gustavus] that I really clicked with. I enjoy working with a group. Everyone has a job and everyone is needed, and you get to see the result of your work and see a change in the neighborhood.”

After graduation, Natalie plans on continuing her work with Habitat for Humanity in her hometown of Rochester, Minn. She finds out next week if she gets the job. “I’ll let you know if I do. It’s a 10-week summer associate position through Americorp VISTA, and it’s working with volunteers and doing construction for the summer. I’m going to live at home and save money for the ultimate goal, which is to teach abroad in Thailand,” Natalie said.

Though she is very involved on campus, Natalie still makes time for hanging out with friends.

“Her laugh, greetings and almost overused terms of endearment make her an original and one-of-a kind friend. I think her fresh style of fashion and music taste is very attractive,” Senior Theatre Major Shane Jensen said.

Natalie is a well-rounded individual whose excitement for life and the well-being of others are beyond measure.