Natasha Ghatak has gone full circle with the National Academy Foundation (NAF) — from student to sponsor. What’s more, she has a thriving career as an assistant controller at Marriott. Her inspiring story is the second in our holiday series about great causes you can support by donating points.
Natasha’s story: As a high school student in Gaithersburg, MD, Natasha had no career plans. She joined NAF’s local Academy of Finance program to be with friends who, like her, were interested in finance. Her first academy course was the turning point — she loved gaining knowledge she could apply in the real world.
How NAF made a difference: After introducing Natasha to the financial profession, NAF helped her turn her interest into a career. Natasha took a community college business course and interned in the accounting department at Comcast Cable. Seeing finance executives in action, she thought, “This could be me in 10 years.”
Following graduation from the Gaithersburg High School Academy of Finance in Gaithersburg, MD, Natasha attended the University of Maryland in College Park. After she graduated in 2006 with a degree in Finance and Economics, she visited her former academy teacher. Knowing Natasha wanted to give back to the program, her teacher suggested that she serve as a volunteer for NAF.
Today, Natasha is chairperson of the Montgomery County Academies of Finance (AOF) Advisory Board. Moreover, she has donated a month’s pay to fund a scholarship for an AOF student, naming it the M. J. Ghatak scholarship in honor of her parents.
Want to make a difference this holiday season? Donate Marriott Rewards points to help a student like Natasha »
About NAF: The National Academy Foundation fosters partnerships between business and education to help students with limited opportunities prepare for college and careers. For over 30 years, NAF has refined a proven model blending industry-focused curricula, work-based learning experiences and business expertise in Finance, Hospitality & Tourism, Information Technology, Engineering, and Health Sciences.
Marriott employees volunteer in classrooms, act as mentors, offer paid internships and serve on NAF advisory boards. Our long-standing partnership has helped many students launch hospitality careers.
Here are some exciting facts about the NAF:
- NAF serves over 70,000 students in 565 academies
- 96% of seniors graduated in 2013
- 92% of graduates who provided post-grad intentions plan to go to college