Natalie Davis

Hometown: Detroit, MI

high school: Cass Technical

college: Columbia University

MAJOR: Psychology

GRAD. PROGRAM: Dominican University (2011, MA); University of Michigan (PhD 2017)

Life is a quilt, some say, made complicated and enriched by the individuals that compose it. The world is so vast that people become lost, not truly understanding their potential influence on society. If only they had pushed themselves a little harder through adversity....If only they had chosen to go right instead of left....Natalie Davis leads her life in a manner so as not to have any regrets. If she makes a mistake, she finds no shame in acknowledging it because she realizes that sometimes you have to do something wrong in order for you to, well, realize that your actions were not right.

Natalie does not allow fear to contaminate her desire to achieve the “unachievable”. She craves challenges and strives for perfection even though she knows that she will never be perfect. She is only human and sometimes, just like all teenagers, Natalie just wants to relax and be herself, whoever that may be. Excellence is tiring, yet a turbulent past keeps her energized and focused on creating a meaningful future.

Natalie has no relationship with her biological father. She has ridden an emotional roller coaster with her mother that just now seems to be ending. Life has never been easy and difficult times have pushed Natalie to mature and pursue independence. She can remember sleepless nights with never-ending tears. She can remember how the weight of another’s burden had the power to break down her spirit, until she realized that the battle was not hers and that the only person she had control over was herself. So Natalie Davis chose to lead herself on the path to success. She gained drive and motivation from earlier days that would benefit her in the years to come.

There are so many memories. Learning to ride a bike years later than the average child, not because anyone had offered her substantial assistance, but because she went up and down the driveway until she acquired balance. Attending elementary school and being involved in every club because her older sister was, not because the activities satisfied or even remotely interested her. Then Natalie came to realize the talents that she possessed. She understood why in middle school she cried when she got Bs on her papers when everyone else in the class was happy just to pass. It is her nature to pursue brilliance. She would throw a softball at the wall hundreds of times until her execution was flawless. Natalie would function on three hours of sleep a day, often choosing a little more sleep over a meal. More tears, as she felt defeated and as if there were simply not enough hours in the day to accomplish all of her goals.

Yet, somehow Natalie Davis made it through the tough times. She believes that it was the difficult times that made her soul stronger. The stormy weather sculpted her into the person she is today. Anyone can achieve when times are good, but only the most extraordinary can reach heights in the midst of adversity.

Natalie received her PhD from the University of Michigan in Educational Studies, Educational Foundations & Policy in 2017. She is a postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University- School of Education and Social Policy.

Back to 2005 Scholars