For alumni Gabby Kistner, gymnastics has always played a large role in her life. Beginning at age two and competing at age eight, Kistner spent thousands of hours focusing on her love for the sport. “Gymnastics is my pride and joy. It taught me how to never give up even if I fall down.” Kistner received a scholarship to the University of Bridgeport and competed in all four events over three years. During her sophomore season, Kistner received All-American honors.
Due to the pandemic, her team did not compete her senior year. This allowed Kistner to become a graduate transfer with additional time to compete. She transferred to North Carolina State University where she is currently on the gymnastics team and receiving her Master’s in Mechanical Engineering. Gymnastics has also helped Kistner strive for excellence in the classroom. While at Bridgeport, she graduated summa cum laude in mechanical engineering. “Gymnastics taught me how to balance my school life with my athletic career, and how to strive for perfection but that I don’t always have to be perfect.”
When Kistner graduates with her master’s degree, she wants to use her knowledge and skills to help others. She hopes to work for a medical device or pharmaceutical company that designs and builds products that help people in their daily lives. She also hopes one day she might be able to coach the sport that she so dearly loves. “Whether I am coaching or cheering on from afar, gymnastics is a sport that will stick with me for the rest of my life.”
In addition to her longtime love for gymnastics, Kistner spent her childhood days at The Franciscan School, from preschool through eighth grade. “TFS was my first home. It is where I learned to read, write, and meet some of the best people who I am still friends with today.” One of Kistner’s favorite memories during her time at TFS was when they sang Christmas carols for the patients at Duke Children’s Hospital. She also loved field day and the opportunity to dunk some of her favorite teachers.
For the students at TFS, Kistner shares her advice to “Enjoy these moments and soak in everything these teachers can teach you. These years will help you so much in moving forward in your life.”