The NAT – Nurture and Thrive – Fund is a newly established scholarship at the Women’s Resource Center in honor of former Daily Lobo culture editor and film student, Natalie Jude.
On Friday, Sept. 30, the WRC hosted a Cuban BBQ fundraiser in support of the NAT Fund and the ongoing Sabrina Single Parent Scholarship.
“It’s not a formal memorial scholarship fund, but it’s named with a wink in remembrance to Natalie Jude Johnson. Natalie’s friends came up with Nurture and Thrive, NAT,” Áine McCarthy – WRC director – said.
The NAT Fund is a survivor safety fund to help empower survivors of abuse through monetary aid, such as emergency housing, moving costs or obtaining a new parking spot,
At the fundraiser, Jude’s friends spoke in remembrance of them. Maya Pacheco – UNM student and LGBTQ Resource Center student employee – spoke about Jude’s writing and positive outlook on life.
“They would always have a smile on their face and always be like, ‘what’s going on, what’s happening,’ even if they weren’t having the best day,” Pacheco said.
Trin Moody, a fellow friend of Jude, talked about their selflessness - Jude had lived with them in order to help them recover from surgery.
Moody spoke about Jude’s struggle to accept help and emphasized the aid and support the WRC could provide with this new fund.
“Natalie wouldn’t dream of anything, to a fault,” Moody said. “NAT lends a hand to any other UNM students, and I guarantee there are more who don’t feel right asking for help amidst any violent dynamics in their lives.”
The Sabrina Single Parent Scholarship named for Sabrina Smith, a daughter of a former WRC director, has been around for almost 20 years, McCarthy said. The scholarship is awarded to student parents to help support them financially. Applications for this scholarship will open in the spring.
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“We saw a lot of need this year among student parents, so we want to continue providing that scholarship,” McCarthy said.
The fundraising event was in partnership with Sunset Comida, a pop-up food business. Garrett McDonnell, owner and former WRC intern, explained that he wanted to give back to the WRC and the UNM community.
“I stopped by to visit and Áine (McCarthy) and I met and we just started talking,” McDonnell said. “She was talking about wanting to do more fundraisers and that’s when we came up with this idea, which is essentially a pay-what-you-can barbeque with the goal of raising money for scholarships.”
McCarthy started at UNM as a confidential advocate on North Campus in 2020. As an advocate, she supported students dealing with Title IX violations. She then moved into the interim director position at the WRC role in 2022 and then interviewed for the position of director in the summer of 2023.
“What I was drawn to was a fun, friendly, welcoming feminist environment and that’s my goal,” McCarthy said. “Our whole team now is dedicated to working every day to offer that, maintain that and create that in their own way.”
The WRC hopes to address the needs and concerns of the UNM community through other initiatives, McCarthy said. These include partnerships with Children’s Campus, student-led programming and groups as well as free counseling through the Mental Health Collaborative in partnership with El Centro de la Raza.
Marcela Johnson is a beat reporter for the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @DailyLobo.
Marcela Johnson is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo, and the editor-in-chief of Limina: UNM Nonfiction Review.