Natalie Hambalek endured many challenges growing up, including poverty and homelessness. She moved many times—four times just in high school—and lived in more than a dozen homes. She knows many things, one of which is that to have the life she wants, education is a key component.
As a first-generation student, Natalie feels she is building a trail for her two younger sisters. She is a deans list student at Sonoma State University majoring in biology with an emphasis in zoology and a minor in environmental studies and planning. The American Association of University Women has recognized Natalies achievements in six different subjects.
Natalie volunteers time at the American Cancer Society, the Marine Mammal Center, coastal clean-ups and garden restorations. She is a judge at a local science fair for students in grades 6-12 and serves as a mentor for at-risk youth. Her long-term goal is to do as much scientific research as she can to help educate others about biodiversity and the importance of conservation.