Women Who Reign: Natalie Monger
“See the line where the sky meets the sea it calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know, how far I’ll go”
— Lin-Manuel Miranda “How Far I’ll Go” (Moana)
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
I’m currently a student at the University of Southern California where I’m majoring in Computer Science and Business Administration and minoring in Dance. I’ve been programming since my sophomore year of high school, and I fell in love with it immediately. In my free time, I like to take dance classes, go to the beach, read, and spend time with my friends and family.
Fun fact! My favorite fruit is a pomegranate.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
My favorite apps are VSCO and Slack! I also really like websites like colorhunt.co and lolcolors.com to give me design inspiration for color schemes when I’m developing mobile apps or graphical user interfaces.
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
Melinda Gates is my biggest career inspiration. She was on the forefront of women in tech when she first worked at Microsoft, and now she has devoted her life to philanthropy and increasing the number of women in technology.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
As a dancer, I love how I’ve been encouraged to take risks and make mistakes. In dance class, whenever a dancer trips or falls on her face, the other students are encouraged to applaud. Learning this in the studio through many challenges growing up has encouraged me to take risks as an engineer and try to fail. In the dance studio, I have encountered too many challenges to name, but I keep repeating movements over and over again until I feel confident and comfortable with the way I perform them. I believe my greatest successes have come from my ability to take risks. Pushing myself to become a better dancer every time I step into the studio has blessed me with discipline and dedication. The physical limits I have put my body to, the long hours of rehearsals and classes, and the hundreds of attempts at perfecting my pirouettes have all been worth it. The accomplishment I feel from dance inspires me to put forth the same effort into every other aspect of life, and especially in my path to becoming a successful engineer.
How did you begin to learn to code?
I had to take a required computer credit in high school, so I took HTML/CSS. Little did I know that this required credit would turn into my future career. I remember falling in love with programming with the first “Hello World” program I wrote. I went on to take Honors Java and AP Computer Science, and even joined the Robotics Team. My first Java class was open-ended, so I could build whatever I wanted to. The first tangible project I made was called the “Bananator.” I took tangible bananas and wrote code in Java to make them play simple songs like “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.” Each day after school, I would go to dance rehearsals for a few hours and then come home and work on personal projects like these for hours on end. I thought it was so cool how lines of code could transform into something that users could enjoy and that I could be proud of. I continue to code almost every day, trying to learn new things and meet new people along the way.
I would love to start my own company that creates products combining computer graphics and dance.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
Wake up early. Surround yourself with inspiring people. Be kind to others. Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Give back. Find what you’re passionate about and pursue it with all your heart. Never stop dreaming and doing.
Learn more about Natalie: www.nataliemonger.com