By Kristen Miller
Recent Dassel-Cokato High School graduate Kianna Goldsberry is looking forward to the fall after being accepted to Harvard University, the second best university ranked by US News and World Report.
“It was probably the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me,” Goldsberry said of getting her acceptance letter to Harvard, located in Boston, MA. “It’s one of the best universities in the world . . . it’s insane,” she added.
Goldsberry is one of the 2,023 students of the 34,295 or 5.9 percent of the applicants to be accepted to the Ivy League university for the Class of 2018, according to the Harvard Gazette.
Set out to major in molecular and cellular biology, Goldsberry is looking forward to “soak in a all they have to offer” at the Ivy League college.
Diagnosed as a young girl with the Sickle Cell Trait (SCT), Goldsberry has experience complications, particularly in athletics, because of it. Her desire is to spend time in a lab researching the SCT.
Though most people with SCT don’t experience any complications, others, like Goldsberry, do, according to the Center for Disease Control.
Some people with SCT have been shown to be more likely than those without SCT to experience heat stroke and muscle breakdown when doing intense exercise, such as competitive sports or military training under unfavorable temperatures (very high or low) or conditions, according to the CDC.
“I really want to do some medical research and turn it into sports science,” Goldsberry said, adding that having the SCT has affected her athletic performance.
“I’ve had several injuries because of it,” she said.
Oxygen depletion is a common symptom of those with SCT. Goldsberry was actually diagnosed as a baby because she would get sick on airplanes.
After that, however, it didn’t really affect her for quite some time, until she became more active in sports, particularly swimming and track.
It was in middle school when Goldsberry had two swimming injuries and suffered two hernias.
“It wasn’t a normal exertion hernia,” she said, rather it was due to weak tissue. She explained it as cells began attacking other tissues.
She has also suffered injuries in her leg, shoulder, and knee due to weak tissue and oxygen depletion.
Goldsberry was excited to announce this season was the first without any injuries. In addition to swimming, she is in track and field and participates in the shot put and discus, runs the 100-meter dash, and is the anchor for the 4 x 100 relay.
“I want to be hands-on and help other athletes with this trait,” she commented, adding that Harvard has so much to offer.
After doing some research on her own, she found that there is a Harvard professor who has done research on the SCT. “I’m excited to pick their brains,” she said, noting that she has done a lot of research on her own, but has yet to be in the lab.
Along with her involvement in athletics, Goldsberry was also in the symphonic band, marching band, and jazz. She hopes to remain involved in these areas at Harvard, as well.
With world-renowned professors and a great music and arts program, Goldsberry is really looking forward to the “well-rounded academic experience” at Harvard.
Last summer, Goldsberry and her family went on a campus tour of Harvard. “It was a great trip,” she said. “The campus is beautiful.
Goldsberry, who chose the post secondary option, recently graduated from Ridgewater college, with a two-year degree.
“I’m so in awe and I feel so lucky I got in [to Harvard],” she commented.
Proud mother, Manda Goldsberry said, “As parents, we could not be more proud of her. We are truly blessed to have her in our lives and to be able to watch her blossom into such an incredible young woman.”
Kianna plans to move to Boston in mid- to late-August and begin the fall semester, noting that she is happy she will still be around for the Cokato Corn Carnival.
“I’m kind of nervous, but I’m mostly excited,” she said, about her upcoming year in college.