When Natassa came to Colorado as a graduate student pursuing a degree in the Master of Social Work Program at Metropolitan State University of Denver, she had one goal: “I wanted to find a way to help people,” she said.

As a first-generation student, Natassa hadn’t always felt supported in her higher education journey, saying that navigating an unfamiliar system not built for nontraditional students can be challenging when you don’t even know where to start.

That all changed when she got to MSU Denver and discovered she had access to a level of resources unlike anything she’d ever experienced.

“MSU Denver supports students in so many different ways,” Natassa said. “From small things like looking over your resume to significant things like providing food assistance – all of it makes a significant difference in students’ ability to achieve their dream of earning a degree.”

Natassa standing in front of the Tivoli with downtown Denver in the background

Studies show that students who receive comprehensive wraparound services have higher retention and graduation rates. MSU Denver sets Roadrunners up for success with access to services ranging from career planning and peer mentoring to emergency financial assistance and an expanded food pantry – programs that are only possible because of the generosity of Roadrunner community members.

Natassa understands first-hand the importance of Roadrunner philanthropy relative to the student experience.

“I have seen and personally experienced how donors’ gifts change students’ lives,” she said. “Particularly those who saw higher education as being out of their reach.”

Having recently graduated, Natassa is excited to start her professional career and hopes to find a role where she can help others by promoting equity and social justice while continuing to learn about the positive effect of philanthropic giving and how those gifts impact different communities. “I know it has the power to change lives,” she said.

“On behalf of all MSU Denver students, thank you to everyone who provides support to make our pathway to graduation possible!”

Learn more about how you can make a difference in Roadrunners’ lives.