Natanya's combined passion for music and history brought an enriched perspective to her study of the social sciences.
Natanya Thomas was like many high school seniors, contemplating what to do after graduation and wondering if she could afford college. Her high school guidance counselor introduced her to Cazenovia College and suggested that she schedule a visit to tour the campus.
Thomas' first visit to Cazenovia College was during an Open House. This is when she fell in love with Cazenovia's small, family atmosphere. She applied to various other institutions, but knew she could make a home here at Cazenovia College.
Graduating salutatorian of her high school class, Thomas received the Presidential Scholarship Award. She moved into the residence hall during the fall of 2013. Her homesickness subsided after meeting other students experiencing the same thing and made a close group of friends during her first semester.
"Always surround yourself with people who are like-minded in a sense that they see you struggling and they want to help you," comments Thomas. "I believe my college friends are really good at doing that."
Classes started and Thomas quickly found support from many of her faculty, most notably from Dr. John Robert Greene, Paul J. Schupf history and humanities professor.
As an undecided major, Thomas took a variety of classes to see what interested her the most. She really enjoyed her history and psychology courses. "I have always been interested in history and deciding to become a social science major gave me the structure I was looking for, as well as the freedom to focus on my other passions like writing and music," says Thomas.
The social science program has also provided Thomas with many opportunities to grow and learn outside of the classroom. Thomas was able to visit the television set of The Ivory Towers at WCNY, where Dr. Greene is a panelist on their show. She was on the conference panel for the Wheler Family Conference on World Affairs in 2016. And she has met authors like Michael Cairo to discuss their books.
Thomas shares how instrumental Dr. Greene has been throughout her college journey. She comments, "He has done a lot for me and has supported me through all of my struggles."
"Natanya brought a unique skill set from the world of music to her study of the social sciences. It broadened her world outlook, and made her a wonderful classroom asset when she served as the Master Student in my class on the First Amendment," comments Dr. Greene. "She is passionate about her beliefs, holds to those beliefs, and has developed the primary skill of a social scientist–the ability to defend those beliefs with evidence."
Becoming involved in various student clubs and organizations also helped Thomas come out of her shell and gain leadership skills she never imagined possible. Thomas has been involved in the Social Science Club, Campus Activities Club (CAB), Students of Every Diversity (SoED), Alpha Phi Omega (APO), and Prank Club.
Thomas graduates in May, 2017 and plans to pursue a career in music. "My major has taught me a lot about discipline and how to be a better writer. It forced me to get out of my comfort zone," adds Thomas. "I never liked public speaking and being a social science major forced me to practice this skill on many occasions."
"It has been an emotional roller-coaster," shares Thomas. "I would not change anything about my experience."
Thomas shares some advice with future students: "Always do things because you want to, not because someone tells you to. You will find something you enjoy doing and grow while doing it."