Natalie Romero is from Washington, DC and is a junior in Civil Engineering with a minor in Green Engineering and a GPA of 3.74. She says being an engineer at Virginia Tech means so much to her. Not only does she get to pursue one of her passions, but she is constantly being influenced by the community, her peers, and all those who came before her. She says the best thing about being a Virginia Tech engineer is how well-rounded of an individual she feels the program is making her. When she was in middle school, she dreamed of being a marine biologist. She was in love with the idea of combining science with the ocean/marine life. Now as an engineer at Virginia Tech, she still dreams of being able to work with the ocean and marine habitats. The only difference is she hopes to use her degree to actively protect these environments with sustainable structures and green solutions. Natalie says that if she could change one thing, she would change people’s mindsets to live greener and more eco-conscious lives. Many people are drawn to the most-convenient and cheapest options in their day-to-day lives. Even she says she admits to doing so. If she could change everyone’s mindset to prefer the greener routes in life, no matter the extra cost or time, she believes this world would be a better place.
Natalie was a CEED Peer Mentor in the fall of her second year at Virginia Tech. She chose to be a mentor after she was involved and benefited greatly from being a mentee her freshman year. She says this program has aided her greatly -- both as a student and a leader. She hopes to stay connected to the community throughout the rest of her time at Virginia Tech. Natalie volunteers in her free time over the summer working to keep beaches and bodies of water in Ocean City, Maryland, clean. As busy as the town is, litter and similar items are often left behind on the beaches which can ultimately end up in the bay or ocean. She says that her and her friends have been involved in both educating others on the importance of protecting these habitats as well as cleaning affected areas. In her freetime, Natalie says she has a passion for 2-D design that dates back to middle-school art classes. In high school, she took multiple art classes including AP 2-D which most definitely contributed to her interest in design. In addition, she is a sushi fanatic -- she spends her summer days working at a sushi restaurant where she has become quite the connoisseur and has even picked up sushi rolling. She also loves many outdoor and ocean-related activities, especially surfing, paddle boarding, and hiking.
Natalie says one of her many role models is her freshman year CEED mentor, Valeria. Val was the absolute best at helping her acclimate to both college and engineering life at Virginia Tech. She instantly became a role model when Natalie learned that Val was a Civil Engineer pursuing a similar future that she intended for herself. She continued to inspire Natalie as the program continued and she is forever grateful for all of Val’s help, wisdom, and kind words. Natalie also mentioned her family, saying she has two siblings. There are nine years between her older sister and younger brother, and she is right in-between the two. She also has a cat named OC. He was creatively named after the place -- Ocean City, MD -- where they rescued him from under their condo deck. Natalie also said that her favorite cartoon character is Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb. Growing up, and even today, Phineas and Ferb was and continues to be one of her favorite shows, This is mainly due to the highly misunderstood and extremely comical Dr. Doof. While he is an evil genius who fails at every attempt to cause chaos, Dr. Doof is both persistent and creative which she finds incredibly entertaining and even a little inspiring as an engineer. Finally, Natalie mentioned her go-to genre of music is classic reggae and her favorite film is The Departed.