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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Mt. Spokane High School: Trinity Tanner’s gymnastics injury is leading her to Bama and biomedical career

Trinity Tanner works with aspiring gymnasts ages 2-14 at Dynamic Gymnastics.  (Courtesy)
By Cindy Hval For The Spokesman-Review

When Trinity Tanner last graced the pages of The Spokesman-Review, she was an 8-year-old aspiring Olympic gymnast.

Today, she’s a stellar student who will be attending the University of Alabama this fall on a full-ride scholarship with plans to double major in mechanical engineering and biomedical engineering.

Although injury quashed her Olympic dreams, she’s still involved with gymnastics.

“I love the sport,” she said. “I coach now.”

Tanner works with kids ages 2-14 at Dynamic Gymnastics.

“It’s great to work with kids and have a positive impact,” Tanner said.

The issues that curtailed her competitive edge in the sport propelled her into a new passion – biomedical engineering.

Tanner said she suffered a severe back injury at age 12 and it took two years to get a diagnosis. While the injury was resolved at Shriner’s Hospital in Spokane, she also developed knee problems, resulting in chronic pain.

“I plan on going into biomedical engineering and focus on chronic pain treatment and diagnostic technology,” she said.

Her time at Mt. Spokane High School has prepared her for her undergrad studies.

“Trinity did four years in our PLTW (Project Lead the Way) Engineering program, as well as three years in our PLTW Biomed Science program,” said teacher Nick Herberger. “She’s incredibly curious and works harder than any student I’ve known.”

He’s appreciated her tenacious curiosity in the classroom.

“She always asks the question behind the question and digs deep into the layers of anything she does, not just engineering.”

Last summer, Tanner got a taste of university life when took part in the PATHS-UP Young Scholars program at Texas A&M.

The three-week residential engineering research internship allowed her to work in the lab with a professor.

“I got to stay in the dorms and got a stipend,” she said.

The internship also allowed her to connect with her extended family and her Hispanic heritage.

“My mom’s family is in Texas and Mexico, so I got to see them,” Tanner said.

Her mother works for DeLeon’s Foods, and Tanner helps out during events.

“It’s great to be able to connect back with my culture through DeLeon’s.”

She thrived in her studies at Mt. Spokane.

“I really loved the engineering classes,” she said. “There was always something innovative going on. People were constantly collaborating and creating work together.”

Herberger said there’s more to this student besides intellectual acumen.

“She’s deeply creative and is incredibly caring and deeply kind,” he said. “She’s a quiet leader.”

Tanner is eager to embrace college life.

“I’m excited to have access to the labs,” she said. “I want to design diagnostic technology and pain management that could have helped me and may help me in the future.”

She plans to take the STEM pathway to her MBA in Alabama and study summers to complete these rigorous degrees in four years.

“The University of Alabama got it right,” said Herberger. “They see her potential. She’s one of those rare people – she’s intelligent, creative and has a great heart.”