Natalie Malluru’s first semester as a freshman at The University of Texas at San Antonio was very intimidating, she said.
She applied to the top scholar program and was selected among 10 other students.
”It really encouraged me to be a lot more intentional and introspective about my journey and now whenever I do an activity or a different experience, I really try to reflect on it afterward,” Natalie said.
Director of the top scholar program Kristi Meyer said by talking to Natalie even for a very short amount of time, she could tell how smart she is.
“She also really has a passion for serving those around her. And, of course, the top scholar program. That’s an integral part of what we do,” Meyer said.
Natalie’s determination to help others led her to volunteer at the Corazon Clinic downtown, a place that offers a wide variety of services to San Antonio’s homeless.
For Natalie, this was an eye-opener.
“I remember that experience was a really transformative part of my journey. I really had the opportunity to have direct patient encounters, seeing how a lot of social determinants affected their health and that’s actually what sparked that interest in public health,” she said.
During her time at UTSA, Natalie helped to ease food insecurity on campus. She got involved with what’s called the ‘Meal Share Program.’
“We came up with the idea to reallocate those surplus meal swipes through student dining plans to students in need or students who were facing food insecurity on a day-to-day basis,” Natalie said.
Natalie also helped create the “Pocket Vax App” that sends reminders on upcoming vaccinations and provides up-to-date CDC data.
Natalie is graduating from UTSA with a public health major and after graduation, she will be heading to medical school at UT Austin.
“Whatever I imagined for her is not going to be big enough. She will do more. She’s going to set new standards,” Meyer said.