Natalie Lincoln knows about beating the odds. At 20 years old, the mother of 3 and part-time mariachi singer has faced—and overcome—life challenges well beyond her years. At 15, she became a mother. She was only a high school sophomore when she had her son Adam. She gave birth to her second son Levi at 18. And her youngest son Luke is just 2 months old.

She had to grow up fast. While her friends were being social, Natalie was changing diapers and worrying about making ends meet.

She lost friends. Relationships became distant. Things changed.

Yet, the young mother showed determination. With the support of her mother, Natalie and her younger sister Jessica got involved with the annual National High Technology Day hosted by AT&T and HACEMOS. She learned about different career opportunities in the field of technology at the event and eventually landed a job as an AT&T customer service rep. She plans to pursue a career in the medical field, combining her education with her experience in the tech space.

We sat down with Natalie to talk about National High Tech Day. She shared how this program has impacted her life, and why she thinks other young people should become involved in it.              

AT&T: How did you first become involved with National High Tech Day?

Natalie: My mother is an AT&T employee, and also a member of HACEMOS. I was in 7thgrade when she told me and my younger sister about it. She spoke of the opportunities in technology and suggested get involved. I do like technology, in general, so I was very interested. It opened my eyes to a lot of different opportunities that are out there. I especially enjoyed meeting new people in leadership positions at AT&T.

AT&T: How did participating in this event impact your life and career?

Natalie: I remember hearing a lot of statistics at High Tech Day. That’s really what stood out to me. I didn’t want to be a statistic. I wanted to be able to show people that regardless of what life throws at you, you can still succeed. I’ve seen my mom grow tremendously in her career. She has also always been very involved in the community. I strive to be like her. That’s also what really motivated me about High Tech Day. I liked the fact that you could start off as a customer service rep and move up to different opportunities in the tech field. That was very motivating. I’m now a mentor for other teen moms. I want to be able to inspire them to keep going and to not give up on their dreams.  I want to share with them the things that have helped me along the way.

AT&T: Why should other young people participate in programs like High Tech Day?

Natalie: You get to learn about different career choices. You’re able to interact with people who are in these jobs already. Sometimes it’s not about what you know, but who you know. The opportunity to interact and make connections with others grows your network. It also gives you the chance to learn about different opportunities. I want to emphasize opportunity is always there. Don’t feel like you deserve any less. Always look for that opportunity! It can be knocking at your door and you just don’t know it. If it wasn’t for my mom helping me with my son and being that rock, I don’t think I would have made it. I don’t think I would have made it at all. The motivation wouldn’t have been there.   

AT&T: What are your plans for the future?

Natalie: My plans for the future… Let’s see. I want to finish going to school. I’m getting my associate’s degree. Then, I plan to transfer to a 4-year college to study biology. My plan is to get into the medical field. I also want to be able to continue growing with AT&T. I want to reach out to others, volunteer and eventually become a manager.  

AT&T: What do you like most about your job as a customer service representative for AT&T?

Natalie: I like the human interaction. Even though there’s no face-to-face communication, I want my customers to know how much I enjoy helping other people. I like offering solutions. I probably enjoy that the most about my role as a customer service rep. Sometimes we get calls from frustrated customers. In those situations, I make it my priority to let them know that I am on their side. I try to make things right for the customer.    

National High Tech Day is taking place across more than 30 different cities on Feb. 25, 2016. 

Natalie Lincoln, AT&T’s National High Technology Day helped shaper her family’s future.