Nataly Hernandez Montes, a junior anthropology major, recently received the North Carolina Campus Compact Community Impact Student Award.
The honor recognizes one student leader at each North Carolina Campus Compact member institution who demonstrates a deep commitment to community involvement and ability to inspire peers. North Carolina Campus Compact is a statewide network of colleges and universities that are committed to community engagement. Watch the virtual awards ceremony.
Montes, a member of the UNC Charlotte Bonner Leaders Program, is a dedicated community advocate, particularly for organizations supporting the rights and well-being of the Latinx community. She has volunteered with Siembra, a grassroots organization dedicated to defending the civil rights of Latinx communities. She supported its voter registration and mobilization efforts during the 2020 election by helping at least 100 people in Randolph County register to vote. She also joined in the organization's COVID-19 information initiatives distributing face coverings and assisting with vaccine information and access.
As a Bonner leader, Montez has been involved with Camino Community Center, a holistic health and wellness clinic serving the Latinx community in University City, and worked with Circle de Luz, a mentorship program for high school Latinas (seniors and juniors) currently mentoring a senior through the college application process.
She volunteered with local artist Hannah Hasan and the Optimist Park Oral History Project team and helped collect and document the stories told by long-time residents of Optimist Park, a historically Black neighborhood facing gentrification and displacement. After neighbors were interviewed, Montez helped create an in-person event in Optimist Park where professional storytellers and musicians brought those stories to life.
Tamara Johnson, director of engaged scholarship, nominated Montes for the award said, “Nataly has a quiet power and demonstrates subtle but steady leadership in this work.”
North Carolina Campus Compact is a collaborative network of colleges and universities committed to educating students for civic and social responsibility, partner with communities for positive change, and strengthen democracy. Learn more at www.nccampuscompact.org.