Natasha C. Priess ’12 Memorial Scholarship

“In every single way that counted, the college was as much a home to her as it was a caring and dynamic institution of learning where she found her calling in life.”

Susannah White speaks proudly about her daughter, Natasha Priess, what she accomplished, and how much Lewis & Clark meant to her. Natasha, a double major in history and political science and a member of the class of 2012, loved the college, once writing, “I am incredibly touched and impressed by the way every student is treated as an individual, and by the care that each member of the Lewis & Clark community shows to make sure that everyone is given so much personal attention.”

Author of The Verge of Darkness, a World War II novel published while she was in college, Natasha interned with the FBI the summer before her senior year. Preparing to start a master’s program in history at Fordham University in 2014, she planned to write her thesis on the role of organized crime in the American war effort during WWII, giving her the opportunity to explore two topics that fascinated her: crime and war.

Natasha died on April 5, 2014, one month before she planned to leave for New York City. She was 24.

To honor her daughter and to benefit other students who share Natasha’s passion for learning, Susannah White established the Natasha C. Priess ’12 Memorial Annual Scholarship the autumn of 2014. In 2020, Michael Mihalke and his daughter Amanda Mihalke ’19 endowed the scholarship. Michael wanted to recognize the profound impact Lewis & Clark had on Amanda, also a history major, and came across this scholarship online. He was greatly moved by Natasha’s story and wanted to ensure her academic legacy while also honoring Amanda’s accomplishments. This scholarship is awarded to students with financial need who are majoring in history and/or experience an unexpected, significant change to financial circumstances.

In their remembrance, faculty in the history department noted, “Tasha never lost sight of the human beings that were at the center of her study. As professors, we are grateful to have had the gift of encountering Tasha just at the moment she was engaged in the process of discovery—about her, the world, and her place in it, and we are devastated at her loss.”

The scholarship, her mother says, honors “Tasha’s education, hard work, and valued ideals by helping deserving students carry on her legacy and love for scholarship and history.”