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Meet Natalie Trautt

For as long as Medal of Academic Merit recipient Natalie Trautt can remember, she wanted to help people.

“As a kid, I would read books about science, health, and all these topics that fascinated me,” recalled Natalie. “I could sit for hours watching videos about theoretical physics.”
It was a passion, described Natalie. And an early one at that.

“Whether it was myself or others around me, I’ve always been interested in fixing what’s broken,” said Natalie. “I knew early on that I wanted to be a surgeon or scientist so that I could improve people’s lives.”

Even while many of her peers changed interests and found new hobbies, Natalie’s love for science never waned. So when it came time to start thinking about a career, it was only natural to lean into what she knew best. The only challenge was, Natalie was starting off largely on her own.

“I’m the first in my immediate family to go to college,” shared Natalie. “No one in my family had that college experience so it was a steep learning curve when I first started. But once I started to connect with my professors, I knew MiraCosta College was the right place for me.”
To this day, Natalie still recalls one of her early conversations with her professor during the pandemic.

Noted Natalie, “It wasn’t just about schoolwork; we started talking about my aspirations and what I wanted to do after college. To have another woman in science take an interest in my career goals and personal ambitions was inspiring.”

And just like she did when she was a child, Natalie couldn’t get enough of the information she was learning. The more science courses she took, the more it boosted her love. Even in the toughest of classrooms, Natalie thrived.

“I didn’t want to shy away from hard classes,” said Natalie. “I knew I wanted to make the most out of my experience at MiraCosta College so I was always signing up for the professors who people said were hard but would teach you a lot.”

For Natalie, learning from some of the leading experts in the field and scientists with decades of real-world experience was incredible. Any chance she got, she would sit down with her teachers during office hours just to dive deeper into the concepts that she was learning.

“There’s just something about biology that makes my brain tick,” beamed Natalie. “The fact that these professors are willing to sit down and continue sharing their knowledge has been incredible. The MiraCosta College professors have really fostered my growth.”

And that thirst for knowledge has not gone unrecognized. This year, Natalie was honored by the MiraCosta College faculty when she received the Medal of Academic Merit, the college's highest academic award.

Shared Natalie, “I was so surprised when I got the news. More than anything, I’m grateful for the MiraCosta College community that has already given me so much.”

"As highlighted by her professors, Natalie is the perfect representation of what MiraCosta College stands for. And she isn’t finished just yet. With a 4.0 GPA and an unmatched work ethic, Natalie continues to take advantage of every opportunity she can while at MiraCosta College, earning two associate degrees before preparing to finish her bachelor’s as well."

“From working in a industry-leading lab to pursing my graduate degree, MiraCosta College has prepared me for the next steps in my journey,” said Natalie.

This summer, Natalie will be interning at the Salk Institute, where she will work on genetic research focused on autism and schizophrenia. After that, she intends to graduate in 2025 with her bachelor of science in biomanufacturing from MiraCosta College and continue her journey toward helping others.

“Science is so new,” shared Natalie. “We have come so far since the 1950s, and I want to be part of the next generation that helps discover the cures and innovations that make a positive difference in people’s lives.”

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