Q & A with Natalie Shalin

Sep 19, 2023 | Blog

This summer Alliance intern Natalie Shalin produced a moving 30-minute documentary about our SNAP team.

We wanted to know more about Natalie, so we asked her some questions.
If you haven’t seen her documentary, take a few minutes and watch it here!

Q: How did you find yourself at the Alliance this summer?

Natalie Shalin Alliance Summer Intern

A: I was the summer intern specializing in content creation and social media this summer! I have always admired Kathy Webb and saw her out and about early this summer. We started chatting and she mentioned starting a TikTok account for The Alliance. We talked some more and decided I would be a summer intern to help create a TikTok account and work on our social media with Jessica Crenshaw. I had such a blast starting with TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook, and then adding my documentary project over time. It really gave me a passion project and something completely out of my comfort zone to experiment with. This was my first undertaking of anything in the film realm, and I was so excited about how it turned out!

Q: What inspired you to create a documentary for your summer project?

A: Parker Blake’s inspiring and moving story on creating change and bettering the programs we have in Arkansas molded and inspired the story I wanted to portray this summer of the SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) Team. Learning more about Parker introduced me to Valentina Simon and Cathy May. From there, I got to hear their stories and immediately wanted to include them in the documentary. After hearing their stories, I created a storyline for their team and the amazing work they do on a daily basis.

Q: Have your experiences this summer changed you in any way? How?

A: This summer has given me the most fulfilling job. I am so grateful to understand and see the behind-the-scenes work of what it takes to make a change in our state and country. The staff at the Arkansas Hunger Relief Alliance is unmatched and beyond wonderful to work with. Seeing firsthand the policy and hands-on work that is being done is empowering beyond words.

Q: What’s next for Natalie Shalin?

A: Currently, I am a second-year college student and Loyola University Chicago! I am a business entrepreneurship major at the Quinlan Business School. I teach cycling classes four times a week and I love doing nails on campus for my friends! I am so excited to keep working virtually throughout the school year doing social media content for The Alliance. For my spring semester, I plan to study abroad in Europe, and I can’t wait for the wonderful moments ahead!

Q: Do you have other film ideas to explore?

A: I would absolutely love to make a documentary on Kathy Webb and all the amazing work she’s accomplished. I would also love to make a staff documentary about working in a restaurant. I have worked at Trio’s Restaurant in Little Rock for quite some time, and I think it would be really fun to make a documentary and capture the essence of restaurant life from the greatest crew around!

Q: What’s your favorite thing right this very moment?

A: I think my favorite thing would have to be spending time with my family and friends, my iced vanilla lattes with oat milk, and walking around Chicago during these cooler months!

Watch Natalie’s SNAP Outreach Team documentary: