Denfeld News

Aug. 9, 2010
Duluth Budgeteer News

Duluth teenager sets goals high
By Sarah Packingham

Danielle Urness is a 17-year-old with a lot of goals.

She will be a senior at Denfeld in the fall and has already started thinking about where she wants to go to college. She is hoping to attend the University of Minnesota in the Twin Cities or the University of Wisconsin in Madison. No matter where she attends, she plans on working toward a biomedical engineering degree.

With her degree — which she plans to have within five years — she hopes of inventing a new kidney dialysis filter.

“My grandmother died from complications from kidney failure related to hemodialysis,” she told the Budgeteer. “My goal is to help people with kidney failure who need hemodialysis. Coming up with a better filter would improve how their treatment is managed.”

Beyond her education in the classroom, Urness also has the goal of starting a mixed martial arts (MMA) and self-defense program for females.

“I just recently got started with MMA,” she said. “I got involved because I have always thought that self-defense is important for everyone, but especially to women. I want to learn to protect myself; I think it is important for all girls to know how to.”

She will start training at Twin Ports Mixed Martial Arts in the fall.

Urness recently competed in the Miss West Duluth pageant for the first time and is looking forward to representing the community she lives in.

“I got involved this year because I have lived in West Duluth my entire life and have a strong family connection to West Duluth,” she said. “This area means everything to me.”

Urness knows she will be happy with her life as she continues to reach her goals.

In her daily life, Urness is very involved in various activities at school. She plays soccer and volleyball and participates on the math team and is in Pyramid (a club that sets up formal dances). She also plays the piano and cello. In her spare time she dances and tutors calculus.

Urness surrounds herself with those who will bring her up and help her to accomplish her goals. She credits her mother as one of the most inspirational people she knows.

She says her mother has drive, a strong will and lots of love and support. Her mother just accomplished one of her goals in December as she finished graduate school.

In her spare time, Urness likes to spend time with family and friends and volunteer at church with different youth activities and Vacation Bible School.

If she could do anything for one day, Urness would like to give the Peace Corps a shot.

But, looking at the big picture, Urness has her future mapped out.

She wants to “work on a cure for lung cancer, bring medical technology to countries in need and have a big family.”

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