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Escobar makes international ECC students feel at home

Natalie #1

Sometimes the best opportunities come at an unexpected time. Homestay Coordinator Natalie Escobar can certainly relate.

Prior to being hired at ECC in 2012, she worked at the Ecker Center for Mental Health in Elgin. While she was aware that a few of her clients attended ECC, she never visited the campus. Escobar, who attended a smaller community college in Iowa, didn't realize how large ECC was until she met with a former client there. Also, she made her visit while the campus was undergoing major construction as part of the Facilities Master Plan.

“I didn't see how ECC looked before the construction began, but when I came back later and saw what was done, I was amazed,” she said.

At ECC, Escobar works tirelessly in support of the Homestay Program, which pairs international ECC students with area host families in order to build bridges of cultural appreciation between the two groups.

We caught up with Escobar to ask her some questions about herself and her work at ECC. Here are her answers.

In your words, what do you do at ECC?

I recruit local families to encourage shared cultural experiences and provide students with high-quality and affordable housing.

What is your greatest accomplishment since you've been here?

I have recruited 23 families in three years!

What would you do if you were ECC president for a day?

First, I would raise the heat to a constant 76 degrees. Second, I would create a sleeping lounge for students and staff to use in between classes or during their breaks.

If there was a movie about your life, who would you want to play you?

Rose Bryne. Because she has the capability to make any situation comical.

What's on your “bucket list?”

Run a marathon.

What's one fact we should know about you?

I became pregnant with my oldest daughter during my sophomore year at the University of Iowa. With hard work and dedication, I was able to graduate on time and made the Dean's List twice. I have been blessed with four more children since then.

What's something about your job that others should know?

I hosted two students (as part of the Homestay Program) so I would be able to better relate to my host families.

What was your favorite class in school?

A class called “Death and Dying” that I took in college. We learned about the process of death starting from the beginning stages of the dying process and toured a funeral home.

What was your first job out of school?

I was an in-home/foster care social worker working with families whose children had been removed by the state. I taught parenting skills and assisted the parents with completing the requirements set forth by the judge to reunite the family.

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

I have the privilege of working with students from the point of application up through the time they graduate. It is inspiring to see the growth and accomplishments of these students.





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