Natasha Spencer graduated cum laude in the spring, took her degree and her newly awarded Fulbright Assistantship, and flew to Thailand to teach English to middle and high school students.
During her six-month stint in Thailand, Natasha hopes to contribute to reshaping and rebuilding the recently flooded nation. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for a cross-cultural experience that will hopefully have an impact on both my life as well as my students’ lives.” Besides her teaching duties, she wants to start “an outreach program, like a peer group, to help out with any need that might still exist from the tsunami disaster.”
Natasha learned to appreciate other cultures after joining Brooks’ Bunch, a program developed by former FSU football player Derrick Brooks that organizes educational “field trips” for students who perform well in school. She was able at a young age to travel to Africa. She says of the experience, “Through Derrick’s program, I was able to touch and see things that I believed were in the future of another person’s life. I became more open-minded and appreciative of other cultures, which is why I wanted this fellowship.”
As an undergraduate, she was an Honors student who majored in Exercise Science. Last April, she was chosen to present the research for her Thesis, “Moderate Exercise and the Immune Response in Varying Environments,” at the Atlantic Coast Conference research symposium at Clemson University. Her research examined inflammatory responses in the body as a result of rigorous activity, which can often lead to muscle soreness. She explains, “Through testing at room temperature and then manipulating the temperature in a climatic chamber, I was able to see how environmental temperatures affect that response, whether it enhances or suppresses it.”
Natasha hopes her research will help people better understand the different processes and effects that training and temperature levels will have on their bodies. She will continue her studies of the human body when she returns from Thailand and begins “attending one of the United States’ finest medical schools.”