When deciding on which university to attend, Natalie Majda was initially drawn to Vic’s smaller community as well as its stunning campus: “I found the architecture particularly beautiful, enjoyed the greenspaces, and heard the student community at Victoria College was creative, artistic and friendly. Although those were my original reasons for coming to Vic, I've since appreciated its incredible student resources and staff.”
Opportunities for undergraduate research would come later, but they would define her undergraduate experience. For Majda, it laid the path for her “to explore and pursue opportunities for incredible growth.” In her fourth year, she worked for Professor Nicholas Terpstra to extract and map census data from the 1561 Florentine DECIMA on a city-wide scale. “I wanted to see where and how secular religious groups called confraternities held residential property.”
The work led Majda to an exciting milestone as well: publishing the results of her work. “Currently, I am working towards publishing the results of this research in the Confraternitas journal. This is the first time confraternal residential property has been mapped on a city-wide scale and it has led to some exciting findings.”
In the future, Majda hopes to translate her own passion for architecture into a potential career in research and policy. “I have always been struck by the beauty of heritage buildings and I’m fascinated by the history behind them. They shape our experience with a city and add so much to the culture of the local area. I want to marry this historical passion with the strong writing, research and legal analysis skills I’ve gained during my undergraduate degree, preserving the character of Canadian cities and towns along the way.
“My future goals are to build a career in heritage planning or policy work, pursue a master’s degree, and volunteer more in my community. Policy work is important to me because it directly shapes our life in so many ways. I am especially interested in working with immigration policy because of my own experiences as a first-generation Canadian.”
Majda pursued a double-major B.A. in history and ethics, society and law, with a focus on socio-religious 16th-century Florentine history. “From the student-led initiatives to the supportive staff, Vic has always made me feel like I was part of a caring, involved community.” Not surprisingly, Majda wanted to find ways to give back. She served as senior editor for the student-run publication Mindful Journal. She also worked as a research assistant for Sister Writes, a creative writing and literacy program dedicated to honouring the wisdom and experiences of women in downtown Toronto, and founded by writer Lauren Kirshner Vic 0T5.
For her academic achievements and her entrepreneurial spirit and interest in innovation and invention, Natalie Majda Vic 2T1 is the recipient of the Fred Reilly Award.