Alumni Board Scholar Profile: Q&A with 2015 Scholar Natalie Kalin

Members of the Boettcher Scholar Alumni Board are interviewing their fellow Boettcher Scholars to help the community get to know one another better. The following Q&A was compiled by Boettcher Scholar Gergana Kostadinova.

Boettcher Scholar Year: 2015
Hometown: Colorado Springs
University: Colorado School of Mines – B.S. Mechanical Engineering, May 2019; M.S. Computer Science, May 2020

What are you interested in pursuing after graduating?

This past summer I had the pleasure of working at a robotics startup called Misty Robotics in Boulder. It was a new experience for me, and I loved it. The company was only about 40 people and had only been around for about two years. I loved the tight-knit feel and the ability to work so closely with a new product. Because of this experience, I’m definitely considering robotics startups after I graduate. Of course, I have one additional year of grad school after I finish my undergrad before I dive into the real world.

Tell us about what activities, groups, and/or organizations you have joined in college and why you joined them.

I’m a huge robotics nerd, so of course I joined robotics club when I started college. This has by far been my favorite activity. When I first joined, the organization only had about 10 members and no budget. Now, three years later, we’re 60 members strong and have a $10,000 budget. It’s been amazing to help grow this organization into a powerful force on campus. Even more so, I’ve loved meeting all the intelligent and hardworking people that are part of robotics. Outside of robotics, Society of Women Engineers also holds a special place in my heart. I’m all about women’s empowerment.

Tell us about an important mentor you have had.

I realize it is cliché, but nobody in my life stacks up to my dad. Whenever I come across a situation I can’t face on my own, my dad is the first person I call. I think what I appreciate the most about my father is he has raised me and my three sisters to be strong women. Just because we are girls didn’t mean we couldn’t do construction work in high school or be engineers. I continue to appreciate his mentorship to help make me the fiercely independent woman I am. I would be nothing without his continued guidance.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Though not necessarily advice, one of my very best friends has a life motto of “just having fun.” As a Boettcher Scholar, fun is usually on the bottom of my list. Goals, expectations, and responsibilities come first. It was not until I met this friend that I considered letting fun guide your life. But why shouldn’t it? I think about this often now. I think if you’re having fun and truly enjoying what you’re doing, your impact on the world will be far greater.

If you could have dinner with one person or a few people from history, who would you choose and why?

I would love the chance to speak with Alan Turing. It would be so interesting to see how his mind works. I think it would be fascinating to hear about his work during World War II not simply from a factual perspective but also to hear about how he actually thought about what he was doing and its influence. I would also love to tell him how profoundly his work in computer science has influenced our world today and hear his thoughts on that. Also, how cool would it be to watch him experience a laptop for the first time?

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