Future geophysicist shoots for the moon

college acceptance kimberly peterson
  • Name: Kimberly Peterson
  • Schools accepted to: Princeton, Brown, University of Chicago, Northeastern, Johns Hopkins
  • Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii

How I did it: "I'm really interested in sciences. I'm planning on studying geophysics. I have been really active in Science Olympiad. I've been doing that since 9th grade. My team made it to nationals several times. We got the highest place for Hawaii ever.

I'm also part of a project called MoonRIDERS at my school. We are partnered with NASA and PISCES to send a lunar dust experiment to the moon and recently completed testing of our Electrodynamic Dust Shield on the slopes of Mauna Kea, since the volcanic dust is very similar to lunar dust in size, geochemistry, and magnetic properties.

When I was a sophomore I went to Japan and presented at the Japan Super Science Fair. We did a project on wave energy. Being in Hawaii, that was easy to test. We tested a turbine where water would wash into it and the mechanical energy would be converted into electrical energy.

I got a job as a teaching assistant with a nonprofit that encourages under-resourced children to become interested in STEM while also teaching them about Hawaiian culture. I'm currently working at a local middle school. We're using Minecraft to teach them about coding, computers and Hawaiian culture.

I also Science Bowl-- a quiz science competition. I've done student government every year and other service clubs. I don't like having that much free time because I get bored."

Test scores and grades: "I think that it really helped that I managed to maintain all As. I got a 2320 on my SATs.

I also tried to challenge myself in the courses I was taking. This year, I'm taking 6 AP courses and auditing another course, but it's not that bad. For the most part, I still go to sleep by 11."

What pushed me: "I think my drive is both nature and nurture. My parents are very into education. [My father] said there's nothing else I'd rather spend money on than a good education. My school has been fantastic at instilling in me a drive and motivation to do well.

I'm planning on studying geophysics, hopefully getting a PhD. I could see myself working or teaching at a university, or working at NOAA or the National Weather Service, or NASA if it's still around."

Did you get accepted into a top college but can't afford to go? Tell us about it and you could be included in an upcoming CNNMoney story.

First published April 17, 2015: 5:52 PM ET

Partner Offers

Mortgage & Savings

Most Popular