2013 – Natalie Maust
Natalie Maust, the 2013 CBF Abraham Lincoln Marovitz Scholarship recipient, has devoted her personal and professional life to service, community building, and social justice. As a senior in college, Natalie spent nearly six months in Peru interning with a Peruvian human rights organization that is committed to promoting justice in impoverished and oppressed communities. After witnessing firsthand the suffering of victims of violence, intimidation, and sexual abuse in rural Peru, she designed and implemented a sociological research project measuring domestic violence and gender inequality and formulated a prevention and awareness campaign to address systemic social injustice. Likewise, for several summers during and after college, Natalie volunteered as an interpreter at an interdisciplinary training conference in Peru that is designed to combat the high indices of child sexual abuse in that country. These experiences ignited a passion that has led Natalie to pursue a career as a legal advocate for vulnerable immigrant populations.
Following her graduation from Wheaton College in 2009, where she obtained degrees in both Anthropology and Spanish and graduated magna cum laude, Natalie began working at the National Immigrant Justice Center (NIJC). During her four year tenure at NIJC, Natalie first worked as a paralegal and later became certified as a Board of Immigration Appeals Accredited Representative. She focused her efforts on assisting immigrant survivors of domestic violence and violent crime as well as unaccompanied immigrant children, and ultimately rose to the role of coordinator of NIJC’s U visa and VAWA Pro Bono Project. In addition to representing hundreds of individuals attempting to negotiate complex immigration procedures, Natalie has provided pro bono attorneys and nonprofit organizations with valuable training on legal issues surrounding immigration. Notably, Natalie’s commitment to the population she serves extends far beyond her professional experiences. For years she has chosen to live and attend church in a majority-immigrant community in Chicago to develop reciprocal relationships outside her work setting.
Natalie has proven to be a passionate advocate for abused and marginalized individuals, and she hopes that a law degree will enable her to be an even more effective legal advocate and force of change in policies affecting women and children in immigration. In the fall of 2013, Natalie entered Northwestern University School of Law, where she intends to continue her strong commitment to integrating service into her academic career. The Marovitz Scholarship will enable her to focus on the pursuit of a rewarding career in legal aid rather than on the reduction of debt after graduation. “I feel honored and humbled to receive this award. I am grateful for this generous scholarship, not only for its helpful financial support, but for its symbolic confirmation of my chosen professional path to seek justice on behalf of the most vulnerable yet most resilient in our community.”