Motivated by a heart for others

Natalie Hannum tracks the trails of her life


LMC Vice President Natalie Hannum

Juan Cebreiros, Staff Writer

Growing up in the forests of Northern California, Natalie Hannum always had a heart of a leader and motivation to help others. She grew up traversing trails for days on end and fell in love with nature so much that she had the dream of helping parks and becoming a park ranger. 

“I just always loved the outdoors and I spent some of my teenage years working in Lassen Park where I just thought I would become a park ranger,” explained Hannum.

However, that dream was not entirely what she thought it would be. 

“I went to Chico State and graduated with a degree in parks and resources management and thought I would become a park ranger, only to find out they do law enforcement work and I wasn’t interested in that,” Hannum said. 

This opened a new path for her to become a firefighter where she spent 16 years doing what she loved: helping others. During her years as a firefighter, she worked her way from a seasonal worker to a full-time firefighter captain. She began to dabble in the field of education when in 1996, she began to teach about hazardous materials. 

However, in 2002, she left the fire service to start her family. 

“My husband at the time was highway patrol, and for me to go back to the fire service with two kids, we would’ve needed two nannies which wasn’t attractive to me,” Hannum said with a laugh. 

Los Medanos College was not the first college Hannum had worked for. She spent time at Moreno Valley College as a full-time director while still teaching in the fire academy. Two and a half years later, she became a full-time faculty member but wanted to go back into a leadership position. 

She began to apply for Deans positions across the states when Los Medanos College came up. 

After two interviews Hannum praised the college and said, “I knew this was where I wanted to be.” She was hired by the college in 2013 and has spent every year since with the school. 

Adjusting from rural park life to urban suburb life was no issue for Hannum.

“East Bay parks are amazing, there are all kinds of outdoor opportunities. We’re also pretty centrally located to Yosemite and I still go out to Lassen Park a few times a year,” cheered Hannum. 

Hannum describes her time at LMC as“amazing” without even having to think about it. She explains her love for the campus because of its ability to put students first, just like she has done in her life. 

Hannum gives praise to her family and mentors for helping shape the person she is today. 

She said, “I come from a very hard-working family and I tribute my hard work ethic to my parents… I’ve had some amazing mentors along the way both in education and in fire.”

Hannum also gives credit to her emergency background for her quick thinking and understanding of information. 

“I’ve always wanted to certainly be a good example for my daughters,” Hannum said while keeping back emotions.