Natalie Koopman is from  Perth Road, Ontario, and is a graduate of the IB program at Regiopolis Notre Dame School in Kingston. Natalie co-captained her school basketball team, played rugby, and has been entrusted with various leadership responsibilities, including being a peer Mental Health Ambassador. In addition to school-related activities and holding a part-time job, she has earned her National Lifesaving certifications,  finished her Water Safety Instructor course that will allow her to teach swimming lessons, and officiates community basketball tournaments. In 2018, Natalie ran a weeklong camp in Fort Hope, teaching girls from the Eabametoong First Nation about the meaning and value of sports, including basketball and soccer. This camp experience informed Natalie’s views about the importance of Canada’s reconciliation with Indigenous people and reinforced her strong desire to make a lasting impact on the environment by reversing the damage done to the Earth by climate change.

Natalie is pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Biology at Acadia University with hopes of focusing on marine biology so she can further explore her fascination with oceans and use her Irving Scholarship to perform meaningful research on marine ecosystems.