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News & Events for the Smith College Community
Sustainability August 14, 2019

Natalie Heacock ’23: A Leader in the Outdoors

Natalie Heacock
When Natalie Heacock ’23 and her sister discovered that the summer camp program offered by their Fort Collins, Colorado, hometown didn’t include any wilderness activities for girls, they took DIY action.

“The girls’ option was for things like ‘spa day’ and cooking,” says Heacock, one of 640 new students entering Smith this fall. “At first, we thought, we’ll just sign up for the boy’s camp. But then we felt we wouldn’t make friends as easily. So, we created our own.”

That was back in seventh grade. Every summer since then, Heacock and her twin sister, Laina, have hosted Camp Adventure, a day camp for girls from age 7 to pre-teen. The weeklong camp is located in their back yard, which borders a city park, and outdoor activities are the heart of the program.

“We have lessons in edible food, building a tent, hiking and swimming,” says Heacock. “It’s so much fun to see the girls grow! A lot of the campers come back every year.”

Heacock discovered her love for the outdoors at Girl Scout camp and various adventure camps she attended growing up. It’s a passion she enjoys sharing with girls, especially those who are new to wilderness learning.

“Some of our campers have never been on a hike before,” Heacock notes. “It’s great to see them constantly trying new things.”

In addition to running the camp, Heacock and her sister also created the Girls Leadership and Confidence Seminar—a program for middle school girls they have presented at public schools in Fort Collins.

“We created the curriculum to share our experiences and strategies for getting through middle school,” Heacock says. “A lot of these girls just need someone who understands what they are going through.”

Heacock is among this year’s entering Smith students, who come from across the country—and around the globe. The class is diverse in other ways: The Admission Office reports that 18 percent of first-year students are also the first in their families to attend college; 9 percent identify as African American, 12 percent as Latina, and 12 percent as Asian American. The class of 2023 includes 27 Ada Comstock Scholars of non-traditional college age.

Heacock first learned about Smith from a family friend who lives near campus. But it was her experience in the college’s summer engineering program that convinced her that Smith was the perfect fit.

“As someone who wants to major in STEM, I’ve been in classes where I’m the only girl,” Heacock says. “Seeing how the boys acted, I realized I needed to go to a women’s college. And Smith is such a great collaborative community.”

A STRIDE scholar at Smith, Heacock wants to study mathematics, including the use of mathematical models to track and cure diseases.

“I’m super excited to meet my roommates and make friends,” Heacock says. “And I definitely want to see what Smith has to offer in terms of wilderness.”