Natalie Duran

Natalie Duran

Clinical Researcher/Professional Athlete

UCLA Health

Los Angeles, CA USA

This is my chance to show people all around the world that women are stronger than people make them out to be.


By Roadtrip Nation

Natalie Duran

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My road in life took a while to figure out.
Has a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside.
Works as a medical researcher at UCLA, doing clinical research in gastroenterology and studying inflammatory bowel diseases.
Whenever school or work got hard, she always found an outlet in two things: vlogging and exercising.
She’d been rock climbing for three years when she first saw American Ninja Warrior.
She realized that although she knew a lot of strong women who’d have fun and do well on the show, there weren’t many women actually featured on the show.
As someone who was already comfortable in front of a camera, she saw an opportunity to blaze a trail for women on the show.
She’s competed on American Ninja Warrior twice; on her second attempt, she became one of the first women to advance to the finals.
Her advice for academic and physical training is: always take the time to explore new things, and find yourself a good, strong support base.
Keep following my journey


High School
University of California-Riverside


Clinical Researcher/Professional Athlete

I am a clinical researcher for UCLA Health, a climber, a fitness model, and competitor on American Ninja Warrior.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Action Sports
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

With rock climbing and American Ninja Warrior, I typically train 4-5 days a week with 2 forced rest days. As a researcher, I work on projects dealing with stem cell-based therapies for inflammatory bowel disease. I write publications on my research. I also occasionally do television spots, fitness competitions, and brand campaigns.

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

With rock climbing, as with any other job, you need to build your mental confidence to complete challenging tasks that you might think are beyond your abilities. Be aware of what you are capable of, but always be willing to push the boundaries.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for college students

Explore new things, get scared, and do things that challenge your comfort zone.


The Noise I Shed

From Society in General:

"Women can't rock climb, this is a man's sport!"

Challenges I Overcame

First-Generation Immigrant