“Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy.”- Anne Frank
Tell us about yourself along with a fun fact!
My name is Natalia Espinosa, and I’m currently a sophomore at Duke studying Neuroscience and Computer Science. I am really interested in the development of Artificial Intelligence, and enjoy building websites as a hobby. I am the current webmaster for my A Cappella group and Duke’s Neuroscience Major’s Union. I am also pursuing a minor in Cultural Anthropology, because I like to explore technology in the context of different cultures. I feel so grateful that I get to conduct research in and pursue a diverse range of subjects, and I am passionate about bringing tech education to underrepresented communities. A fun fact about myself is that I was born on Christmas, and my name literally means born on Christmas, but the naming wasn’t intentional.
What # would define your life journey?
Favorite website / app:
My favorite Website/App is Airbnb for when I travel, either on a road trip or abroad!
Someone who inspires you and knowledge they have imparted:
My mom, simply by being a strong and driven woman in my life, has been a huge inspiration to me. I really appreciate her for letting me explore what my interests are without pressuring me into fitting into any mold.
Challenge you’ve faced and how you overcame it:
My biggest and most recent challenge has been, in short, integrating my interests. This wasn’t ever a problem, but as I got deeper into my college career, I started to get involved with research and had to decide which subjects I wanted to specialize in over others. It was sometimes hard to explain to others what exactly I wanted to do as a career. Fortunately, I have been able to do research in Neuroscience as well as in Cultural Anthropology, while still pursuing Computer Science as a minor. I’ve come to realize that I don’t always need to be in a super-interdisciplinary space: sometimes my interests have overlap, other times I am working on completely unrelated projects. Overall, I am really thankful to be receiving an education that allows me to code, study brains, and do anthropological research at the same time. Today I actually declared my majors+minors; I am feeling a lot more confident about what I am doing academically, and I’m excited for what is to come.
My ideal job is one that will allow me to be on the cutting-edge of science, whether that be in a laboratory or at a computer desk. There are a lot of AI projects right now that I’ve been following, and I can’t imagine what they will look like in 10 years, but hopefully I can be involved with them.
What knowledge would you impart to women in order for them to REIGN their lives?
I recently watched a TED talk titled “Teach girls bravery, not perfection”. I think that is great advice that all girls should keep in mind when doing anything. There is no ‘right’ passion you should be following, but as long as you are doing what you love and not afraid to take big strides, all will go well!