An instant connection with the UMass softball coach gave Kiara the opportunity to play the game she loves at the school she chose.
I'm from Rhode Island, and I chose UMass because of how good the school is academically, and also because of the head coach of the softball team, Coach Kristi Stefanoni. I met Coach Stefanoni my freshman and sophomore year. Getting to know her over the past four years has been great. She's one of the most amazing people I've ever met, and I know she's always there for me, so it makes me feel a lot better playing for someone that's always there. My dad and I had a very close relationship whenI was younger and throughout when I was playing, and once he met Coach Kristi, it was like-- told me I had to come. The first time I stepped onto the field and put on the UMass jersey, it was definitely unlikeanything else I've ever felt. All the fans for UMass that were there, everyone cheering, it'ssomething I'll never really forget. Right now, I'm majoring in kinesiology. Kinesiology is the study of muscle movements and your brain and brain waves how everything connects together. After graduation, I hope to use my kinesiology degree to go to PA school to be a physician's assistant. It's definitely a lot to balance school and a sport, but I definitely feel like I'm more on top of my studies-- as to where I thought it would be the opposite-- because we have scheduled times for everything and I have to get certain things done by a certain time, so it's definitely a lot easier. My UMass education means a lot to me because I know that school is definitely more important than anything you could possibly do, so getting a good education here means a lot because it will take me very far in everything else I want to do. My name is Kiara Oliver, class of 2021. I stand for opportunity, and I stand for UMass.