Rising up from the coal mines to inspire a community

By Irene Holden

Last Updated: April 15th 2024

Rising up from the coal mines to inspire a community

From ESL Teacher to Product Area Owner at GlobalLogic

This is Natalie Wheeler's story.

Hailing from the Appalachian region of Eastern Kentucky, Natalie's path from humble beginnings in the Appalachian Mountains, to pursuing a career as an ESL teacher to tech professional embodies the spirit of embracing change and seizing new opportunities. 

Natalie graduated with a Bachelor's Degree in English Language and Literature from Eastern Kentucky and received her Master of Arts in Teaching Secondary Education from the University of Cumberlands. With a background in education, Natalie brought a wealth of teaching and coordination skills honed through years of serving diverse student populations. However, the allure of the tech industry beckoned, fueled by a desire for greater financial stability and work-life balance. 

Despite initial doubts and financial constraints, Natalie began on her tech journey with Nucamp Coding Bootcamp's Full Stack courses, drawn in by its affordability and flexible learning options. Immersing herself in coding, she found a supportive community and appreciated the diverse resources tailored to different learning styles. 

What was your experience like going through your bootcamp?

"I've made friends there that I still keep up with on LinkedIn and we check in on each other's careers and see how we're all doing. I saw the same people (each course), and I like that part of it because over time you get to see each other grow."

What resonates deeply in Natalie's narrative is her willingness to adapt, learn, and navigate through uncertainties. Every obstacle became a stepping stone, propelling her forward on a path of self-discovery and professional growth.

Was there a point of doubt or difficulty that you had to overcome?

"React! We were having to find new workarounds. This was actually good because it got us used to reading the documentation. You have to find the good in those types of challenges and it'll probably help you in your career."

Throughout her bootcamp, she discovered a reservoir of untapped potential within herself. Reflecting on her growth, she expressed awe at her newfound capabilities, admitting she underestimated her own capacity for success. She recounted moments of surprise and self-realization, particularly when she successfully navigated challenges such as creating a campsite within the program and mastering technical tasks she previously thought were beyond her reach.

Beyond professional success, Natalie's story, growing up as a coal miner's daughter, also sheds light on the broader context of her upbringing in the Appalachian region, where economic struggles and a sense of hopelessness prevail for many. Through her own success, Natalie hopes to inspire others in her community, particularly her daughters, by demonstrating that change is possible and that opportunities for a brighter future exist beyond the confines of their hometown. She often returns to her hometown to give back to the community that helped shape her. 

Her journey serves as a beacon of hope for those facing similar challenges, reminding them that resilience, determination, and a willingness to embrace change can pave the way for a better tomorrow. May her story inspire others to embark on their transformative journeys, fueled by passion, determination, and a belief in the power of possibility.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about attending a bootcamp but they haven't registered yet?

"I'll say do it! The time is going to pass anyway. You may think it takes too much time, but invest in yourself...one of the instructors said it this way and I loved it. He said, 'If you want a new career, you're going to get a new career.' basically if your heart's in it, you will succeed." 

Irene Holden

Operations Manager

Experienced Professional Realtor with a demonstrated history of working in the real estate industry. Strong real estate professional skilled in Microsoft Word, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Event Management, Team Building, and Management.