Presidential ambassador, science club member and dance ministry leader Natalie Diaz hasn’t wasted a moment of her time at Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Yet she never let her busy schedule distract her from her studies. Diaz majored in biology with a concentration in pre-health professional preparation and a minor in chemistry, and she graduated with honors from PBA on Dec. 17.
She was also chosen as the Outstanding Graduate of the School of Arts and Sciences.
“I was honored beyond measure,” Diaz said of the honor. “I was shocked and blessed.”
Earlier this year, Diaz was one of five PBA students awarded a scholarship through the Executive Women of the Palm Beaches.
Diaz, a Miami native who grew up in North Carolina and Cooper City, Fla., has been accepted to graduate school at Nova Southeastern University and plans to become a doctor of optometry.
She said her interest in science began with an anatomy class. “In high school I loved science,” she said. “I just wanted to use science to help people.”
Before that, Diaz loved to dance and began taking ballet classes at age 4. The Christian dance studio where she took lessons also had a dance ministry, she said.
“As I learned more about liturgical dance, I thought, ‘This is perfect,’” Diaz said.
At PBA, Diaz joined a dance ministry started by Katie Clawson, who graduated in 2010. Diaz said she enjoyed being part of a group that was devoted to redeeming the arts for the church. “It’s also very restorative,” she said.
During her freshman year, Diaz also joined the ballroom dance and swing dance clubs on campus. She also has been active in the Point 58 Bible study program, Journal Club and Welcome Week, where she served as a fish group leader.
She spent summers working at the Victory School for Autism and Behavioral Challenges teaching lower-functioning autistic children basic life skills and reading. She has volunteered for the Arthur R. Marshall Foundation, Palm Beach Zoo, Walk to Defeat ALS, Norton Museum of Art, American Lung Association, United Way Build a Program, First Baptist Church of West Palm Beach, American Cancer Society and Youth for Christ.
Her other interests include babysitting, as well as sewing and designing clothes. She said she has enjoyed her diverse campus experiences. “It’s important to be well-rounded,” she said.