- Gender: Female
- High School: Warren High School
- Hometown: Downey
- State: California
Natalie was born and raised in Los Angeles County with a younger sister. Her parents, who are from Jalisco, Mexico, lacked opportunity to go beyond high school.
She is clear about the difference a higher education can make. “I know what I want for my future,” she says. “And I am positive that…I need to pursue higher education, in order to create the better lifestyle I want to lead…[and] hopefully one day get my dream job.”
She acknowledges the path there will have its challenges. She cites finding financial aid and maneuvering through the college application process without guidance, as her biggest concerns.
But she is not letting those concerns hold her back. As a junior and student leader at Warren High School, she is laying the groundwork for a future that includes college. In addition to excelling in her studies, she is vice president of both the Make-A-Wish Club—a fundraising club that aims to fulfill the wishes of children with terminal illnesses—and the Space and Aeronautics Club. She also tutors AP students as an AP ambassador and participates in the Femineers program, which inspires female students aged K-12, to pursue STEM in their education and future careers.
Other activities include being a member of the 33rd District Young Senator's Program—California State Senator Ricardo Lara’s program, which exposes students to local government and the community. And, she is active in Be the Change Club, where students voice political concerns, debate, and become informed on the current state of the country.
Last June, Natalie was one of 152 top students who were invited to attend the Hispanic Scholarship Fund’s 2017 Youth Leadership Institute (YLI) at the University of Southern California. YLI is a four-day, overnight conference that gives outstanding Latino high school juniors the practical tools they need to set a course for success in college and career.
She received the 2016/2017 Warren High School’s Bronze Bear Award, which celebrates students for their school and civic engagement and maintenance of 3.0 GPA and above. She also participated in the 2016 SkillsUSA Championships—a competition showcasing the nation’s best career and technical education students—where she was awarded a Nationals Recognition of Competency Certificate, California State Gold Medal, and Los Angeles Area Regional Gold Medal, all in the category of Engineering Technology/Design.
Additional achievements include earning the 2016/2017 Femineers 30-hour project certificate, and being inducted into the National Technical Honor Society, among others.
Natalie plans to major in Engineering with aspirations of “one day working in a respected aerospace organization.”
She encourages students considering college to work hard now: "Échale ganas," she says. “Give high school your all, because whatever you put in, you will get back. Trying to get into a good college and being motivated to apply, to any type at any level, is a huge accomplishment on its own.”