Natalie Pendergrass: ‘Life is meant to be lived!”

  • Tags: Faculty Profile | Newsletter
Published 09/07/2020
ECC Massage Therapy Instructor Natalie Pendergrass.

ECC Massage Therapy Instructor Natalie Pendergrass.


Like many students who come to ECC right out of high school, Natalie , massage therapy unit adjunct faculty, did not know what she wanted to do with her life. She considered teaching, counseling, even real estate, but nothing seemed to spark her passion. She wanted movement, variety, and a sense of helping others. As fate would have it, Pendergrass had the luck of being at ECC at just the right moment – the start of the Massage Therapy program. She checked it out and was hooked.

“Once I enrolled in the introductory courses, I was there to stay,” said Pendergrass.

After graduation, she was hired as an adjunct instructor. “Not only was the work a natural progression of my yoga training, but the job offered the flexibility, movement, and educational aspects I longed for,” she stated.

Read on to learn more about Pendergrass and her quest for a beautifully lived life:

In your words, what do you do at ECC? What do you want others to know about your job? Or what would help others understand your job?

In massage therapy, we don’t just teach technique, but rather how to feel, to sense, and to relate to others.  We teach how to help people feel good in the body they have, reduce their pain and doctor visits, and otherwise live a healthier, happier life.

Name a job or role at ECC that you would like to try for one day and explain . I would like to run a cadaver lab. As gross as that may sound (and smell), I would love the opportunity to again look more closely at musculotendinous junctions and attachments at bones. I want to look at fascia and how it adapted to this individual’s lifestyle and postural patterns.

If you could instantly be an expert in one thing, what would you choose?

D2L (Desire 2 Learn) - that would have made preparing to teach online this fall much smoother!

What do you enjoy doing outside of work (i.e., hobbies/interests)?

Outside of work, I enjoy being outside having fun with my husband and kids. We all stand-up paddleboard and ride bikes. One son and I have traveled with our mountain bikes to ride the San Gabriel Mountains in California.

Where is the best place you’ve traveled? Or where would you like to visit?

I have visited some amazing places and have a hard time deciding which is my favorite, but I would have to say Washington state has been my favorite so far. With the mountains and ocean in such close proximity, there isn’t much that is more beautiful.

Share a fact about you that might surprise people to learn.

I have taught yoga, breathing, and meditation for 18 years. Despite the stereotypes, I am not a vegan, but I am a Christian.

What job have you held (besides ECC) that was the most fun, interesting, or difficult? Explain why. 

When I began working, I spent many years in retail. I really enjoyed sales and helping people find what they were looking for and putting a smile on their face.

What was your most valuable life lesson?

You only get one body in this life, take care of it and use it well and wisely for as long as it is capable; life is meant to be lived!

Complete this sentence: “I enjoy working at ECC because … “

…teaching is my passion and at ECC I feel supported and honored to teach such a variety of students with a desire to learn how to help and support others.  What could be better?