Natalie Cincotta — College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
It is not an exaggeration to say that Natalie traveled halfway around the world to study at NIU. Raised in Sydney, Australia, she resolved to go abroad for college. While visiting family in Illinois, she took a campus tour, was impressed by the sense of community and opportunities at NIU, and decided to apply.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Cliché’s aside, Natalie majored in history at NIU, with a minor in German. And she has certainly made her mark: She earned straight A’s in the University Honors Program; studied abroad and became a peer mentor. She was a force, for community building among students in the history department, in the Research Rookies program and the Office of Student Engagement and Learning, where she worked.
Natalie’s list of honors and activities is too long to mention here, but it includes work representing NIU as a Northern Lights Ambassador and recognition last year as NIU’s Outstanding History Student.
She also conducted three extensive research projects, examining the use of photography on the Nazi-Germany warfront. The work included spending a semester in Berlin, combing through German archives.
Additionally, Natalie was selected for a Chicago leadership summit hosted by the U.S. Holocaust Museum, and for a week-long archival and research seminar at the Center for Jewish History in New York City, where she was the only undergraduate participant.
History professor Heide Fehrenbach, Natalie’s advisor and mentor, calls her mature, motivated and academically gifted. “She is one of the top two undergraduate students I have taught in nearly 25 years of teaching at Rutgers, Colgate and Emory Universities, and now at NIU,” Fehrenbach said. “What sets her apart from other academically gifted students is the energy she devotes to others. Natalie is a remarkable young woman, a beloved role model for female students and a positive force for good.”
NIU isn’t alone in its high regard for Natalie. The University of Texas-Austin has accepted her into its Ph.D. program, and they are providing her with five years of full funding.