Senior Spotlight: Nathalia Mazza

Nathalia Mazza Photo provided)

Nathalia Mazza (Photo provided)

By Jackie McMahon, Staff Writer

Given the unexpected transition to remote learning due to COVID-19, Nathalia Mazza ’20 is unsure about how the change will affect the rest of her senior year. “I will be finishing up my classes and my senior art capstone as best as I can given the situation.” She says. “I’ve had to adjust the size of my work for art to be able to continue working on it from home but I’m going to keep drawing and painting and probably try some new techniques. I’m teaching myself how to carve wood and working on some cross-stitch pieces. I will also be thinking about jobs for after graduation.”

A Studio Art major and Religious Studies minor, Mazza’s Gettysburg College experience also started off with uncertainty. “To be honest, I have mixed feelings with how Gettysburg College has helped me to pursue my interests, passions, and goals. I wouldn’t necessarily say the college has helped me because freshman year, when I was struggling to make friends despite having joined three clubs on campus and putting myself out there, there was no social support system on campus.” She says. “As someone with autism, I would have done anything to have an adult who helped me connect to other students, freshman year. I’m so glad that the counseling center had introduced me to my best friend in that first spring semester, but students who struggle socially should be getting that kind of support from the very beginning.”

Despite initial struggles, Mazza was eventually able to find a support system at the college who helped her. “Even though I did not have the social support I needed, I was lucky to find a few people at the college who have helped me through the past 4 years. Professor Stephen Stern, Professor Tina Gebhart, Professor Mark Warwick, and the deans and staff in Academic Advising, have been my biggest support system.” Mazza told the Gettysburgian. “These are people who let me complain about every little or big thing that’s bothering me, talk about all of my triumphs, small or large, and ramble on about some of my obsessions like Doctor Who. These are the people who encouraged me to push myself beyond my comfort zone, while also encouraging my self-awareness of when something was too much for me. These are the people who inspired me, who helped me feel more confident about myself. In the moment when I had desperately wanted to leave Gettysburg, these were the people I thought about and who made the decision, both very difficult and very easy. I knew I’d rather have those people help me through, what was a very tough four years, then have to rebuild a new support system at a school that might have better supports in place for students with autism.”

Mazza aims to use her own experiences to help others. “I would like to work with kids with autism when I graduate, although I’m not quite sure how I want to do that. I’m thinking either special education, [or] therapy.” She says. “In the long run, it’s my dream to run a therapeutic riding barn and art therapy studio together, but for now I just want to make some money, get some experience, and complete graduate school.”

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Author: Jackie McMahon

Jackie McMahon '21 enjoys writing OpEd and A&E articles for The Gettysburgian due to her strong opinions about everything and her borderline unhealthy obsession with television. In her free time, she likes to binge-watch shows on Netflix, post on her Tumblr blog, and attempt to write a novel. She is passionate about feminism, cats and anything with chocolate in it. Her ambition is to someday become a best-selling novelist or a journalist.

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