Natalie Perez, Geneva Class of 2013, is the highlighted alumna for this quarter. Here are her responses to a standard set of questions which are given each quarter to an alumnus or alumna to answer.
Please give a current update on yourself (college/graduation year, major, grad school, work/career, family, other interests, service or hobbies).
I graduated from Trinity University in 2017 with a major in Communication and minors in New Media and Management. I’m a Journalist-turned-Designer-turned-User-Experience-Strategist. I began my career as an editorial assistant at Real Simple Magazine in New York City, made my way back to Dallas, Texas to work as a designer at Southwest: The Magazine (the one in the seat-back pockets), and then made a full jump into the airline industry to work for American Airlines headquarters where I work today. When I’m not at work, you can find me photographing live music (my favorite side-gig), playing sand volleyball, or hopping on a last-minute flight (airline benefits are great!).
In what ways did your Geneva education/training prepare you for the work you are doing now?
I’ve been able to take a very generalized approach and cast a wide net with my career and I can definitely attribute that, in part, to my Geneva education. Geneva puts an emphasis on thinking critically and learning quickly, which are skills I’ve used to pivot in and out of different disciplines and industries. I’m not afraid to – and really enjoy – learning new things.
Please describe the most significant value you learned from Geneva.
“To equip students for a lifetime of learning…” it’s right there in the mission statement. Staying curious, asking questions, learning new things…for me, that’s what life’s all about.
How would you encourage a Geneva Rhetoric School student to make the most of their Geneva years?
Take advantage of and soak in as much experience as you can handle. Be the soccer stud who plays trombone and is also captain of the debate team. Geneva is a place where you’re never pressured to box yourself in, and that’s something special!
Describe Geneva in one word. Explain.
Rare. As life after Geneva goes on, the more I realize that Geneva is truly unusual – in the best way. The types of friendships cultivated, the educational experience, the lessons learned, the pursuit of excellence are all things uniquely fostered by a special environment. I’m a member of the Geneva Guild, and receiving a classical education in-full as it’s intended is something not many people get to experience and I’m grateful for it.
Please share one or two of your Geneva extracurricular activities and then compare/contrast that with one or two of your current non-work activities.
My life revolved around volleyball as a teen. I was absolutely obsessed with the sport. We won a couple of state championships during my Geneva years – those games with that team gave me some of my fondest memories! I went on to play in college but took a much needed break from it post-grad. I didn’t know anyone in the city when I moved to Dallas, so I joined a sand league where I ended up meeting some of my closest friends here. I can’t wait to be back on the court – er, in the sand – once COVID-19 is a thing of the past.
What are your future career goals and how do you feel prepared for them?
Eventually, I’d like to work for myself! I’m doing my best to learn the ins and outs of my industry so that one day I can open my own creative agency. That may change in two, five, or ten years from now, but I know I feel equipped for a lifetime of learning and evolving.
How are you impacted by your work now? What is something you have learned/are learning about yourself and God’s world?
I have learned that your day job doesn’t always have to align perfectly with your passion and purpose at all times in your life, especially if you work in a creative field! I have been lucky to find a work environment that is rewarding and challenging, but also allows me time to feed my soul and passions outside of work. My current job as a UX/UI Designer satisfies the analytical and technical part of my brain, while my side gigs and personal projects feed the creative and artistic side.