“As you journey through life, remember to focus on the learning and not just getting the grade,” says CIS alumna Natalie Kirchhoff. “My lowest grade at CIS was in AP Calculus. I got a C+. I struggled in that class and was forced to really learn the material. Fast forward to Rice University, known for its strong math and sciences, where I got an A+ in Calculus and found myself tutoring other classmates!”
Natalie attended CIS in eleventh and twelfth grade and graduated in 2005. Following high school graduation, Natalie headed to Houston, Texas, to attend Rice University. She studied Sport Management and Business while also competing as a swimmer for the Rice Owls. It took a lot of focus and energy to juggle academic and athletic responsibilities, but she learned a lot through the process.
Natalie’s career has been eclectic and anything but boring! Since graduating from CIS, she has lived in five different states and two countries. She has worked for Fortune 100 companies and also for small start-ups specializing in general and project management. After graduating from Rice, she worked for The Walt Disney Company for three years. The neatest project she worked on was the building of the Hawaii resort — Disney’s first destination resort. She has also had the opportunity to work in Luxembourg in several roles.
In addition, Natalie pursued a career as a professional triathlete. She had the opportunity to train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs and won the USA National Championship in 2011 as an amateur before debuting as a professional. Natalie retired from the sport in 2013.
Natalie cherishes her two years at CIS. The faculty, staff and students encouraged her to grow, develop intellectual curiosity and be herself. The guided yet independent learning style at CIS helped prepare her for college. It taught her how to learn, manage her time, and seek help when she needed it.
Natalie has some advice for current CIS students. “And remember, life is what you make of it — so is your education. I have friends that went to well known private universities, but didn’t study and took it for granted. I also have friends who put themselves through community college and are thriving in business. Wherever you go and whatever you end up doing, take full advantage of each opportunity you are given and make the most of it!”