Meet Nathalia Owens, a current graduate student in Athens State’s strategic human resource management program with a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Owens is originally from Indonesia and moved to the United States in 2019 with her husband. Speaking little English and bright-eyed for her future, she was ready to chase the “American Dream”. One thing Owens commented as the most surreal object to see was a yellow school bus. She had seen them in movies but did not know they are used as a viable source of transportation. The movies came to life for Nathalia Owens, and she landed in Athens, Alabama.
Owens sought help from English courses offered at Calhoun Community College to practice her English speaking and writing skills. Owens was on her way to enroll in graduate school at Athens State and did not let the language barrier or uncertainties hold her back. By this time, Owens had a baby boy, Jaxson. She knew that earning her masters degree would help secure both of their futures, and she was brave enough to move forward.
“I love that Athens State started as a college for women,” she commented. “I chose to come here for my masters because I am fascinated by the history and mission of the University.”
The mission of Athens State is to advance the best interests of our students and the State of Alabama through teaching, service, research, and other creative activities to empower students to make valuable contributions in their professional, civic, educational, and economic endeavors. Through innovative communication and course delivery for high-quality undergraduate and select graduate programs, Athens State University provides a supportive environment for each student, demonstrating the importance of the diverse and interdependent nature of our state and society. Athens State University changes the face of Alabama by changing the lives of its students.
I have benefitted from the mission of the University. In my time at Athens State, I have been supported, encouraged, and trained to succeed in the workforce.Nathalia Owens, Athens State graduate student and one of America’s newest citizens
Owens shared that she has had many positive influences throughout her time at Athens State. The late Dr. Gary Huckabee was one of her instructors and suggested that she get involved with the student chapter of SHRM on campus. Joining this organization shaped Owens’s leadership skills and allowed her to have a community of peers within her program to consult and collaborate with. Also, Felicia Mucci, Director of the Adult Learner Services Office at Athens State, is a tremendous mentor and friend to Owens and provides recommendations and best practices for accomplishing various tasks around Athens, Alabama.
“She (Owens) is an amazing woman and I am the one who has benefitted from our relationship,” Mucci said regarding her friendship with Owens.
In May of 2023, Owens began the citizenship process and was told it could take up to one year to become a citizen. To her surprise, in July Owens learned that her citizenship test and interview would be administered in August of 2023. On August 22, 2023, Owens passed the citizenship test and became a U.S. citizen.
“I wanted to become a citizen for my son and because I know there are more opportunities in the United States,” Owens said. “I will always be attached to my roots, but the United States is now my home.”
With a bachelors of law in hand from the University of Sam Ratulangi located in Indonesia, Owens shared that she is eager to finish her masters degree in strategic human resource management in 2024 and continue the great work of the University through serving on staff at the Center for Excellence in Education Diversity (CEED).
About the Strategic Human Resource Management Program
As businesses become more employee-centric, the role of human resources managers grows more important — and more complex. Today’s HR managers oversee the cultivation of sustainable work environments that ensure employees feel validated and are poised to succeed. Click HERE to learn more.