Video by Zack Eagles

I Am Vanderbilt celebrates the individuals of Vanderbilt and the distinctive skills and contributions they create to their work on the college every day.

Natalee Erb is aware of that Vanderbilt college students bear a substantial amount of private development outdoors of the classroom, and that their undergraduate expertise begins to take form quickly after they arrive on campus.

As affiliate director of residential faculties, she works to develop and perform programming for first-year, switch and new worldwide college students to make them really feel extra at house on campus, in addition to guides the 160 peer mentors and scholar leaders who will assist them in that journey.

“Residential faculties are crucial as a result of they provide college students an entire expertise,” Erb stated. “What they’re doing within the classroom is so vital for his or her mental development and improvement, however what they’re doing outdoors of the classroom is complementing that to type entire human beings who’re well-equipped to alter, actually, the world.”

Erb’s need to make new college students really feel nurtured and supported stems from her personal expertise as a university freshman.

“I used to be undoubtedly very introverted, very shy, and I didn’t exit of my solution to make loads of buddies my first yr,” stated Erb, who takes some accountability for the expertise. “It wasn’t till I discovered an outlet, a group—I grew to become a resident adviser my second yr—that I felt I had a cause to remain on.”

Erb got here to Vanderbilt in 2011 to pursue a grasp’s diploma in greater training administration at Peabody School and served as a graduate assistant within the dean’s workplace at The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons. “I knew after I went to grad college that orientation was the practical space I wished to land in, as a result of I had a damaging expertise as a first-year scholar and I wished to have the ability to repair that for others,” she stated.

“Residential faculties are crucial as a result of they provide college students an entire expertise.”

Since incomes her diploma in 2013, Erb has been heartened to see the bodily development of Vanderbilt’s residential faculties, in addition to the deep sense of identification and loyalty college students really feel towards the living-learning communities during which they reside.

“I feel what we’re doing within the residential school system is integral to the Tutorial Strategic Plan, as a result of every thing we do connects with the plan to make sure our college students are getting probably the most sturdy {and professional} preparation they will earlier than going out into the world,” she stated. “Since I’m working daily to construct that system and preserve it operating, that’s one of many issues that makes me really feel my job is integral to the mission of the establishment.”

“As a result of Natalee is so mission-focused, it makes everyone within the group purchase in to that and consider in it and work tougher,” stated Sophia Lee, a senior medication, well being and society and cinema and media arts double main from Corpus Christi, Texas, who’s serving as a VUceptor underneath Erb’s mentorship for a 3rd yr. “All of us turn out to be little variations of Natalee, the place we’re so environment friendly and competent, as a result of now we have such an environment friendly and competent and devoted chief.”

Affiliate Director of Residential Schools Natalee Erb (second from proper) speaks with VUceptors at The Commons Eating Heart. (Joe Howell/Vanderbilt)

Erb says she needs the residential faculties to be a spot the place high-achieving Vanderbilt college students can chill out and discover respite from the stresses of teachers and every day life on campus. “I would like them to really feel like they’ve an area to be who they’re, and to lean into that as a lot as doable.”

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