04/30/2013 07:26 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Natasha Goss, 16-Year-Old CU-Boulder Senior, Heads To Harvard For Ph.D.

When she was 18 months old, Natasha Goss was asking her mom what was in water that makes it wet.

By age 2, she was reading. By third grade she was whizzing through pre-algebra courses.

Goss, a 16-year-old majoring in chemistry and minoring in math, will graduate May 10 from the University of Colorado.

When most kids her age are getting their driver's licenses, she's prepping for her next academic chapter -- a Ph.D. program in atmospheric chemistry at Harvard University on a three-year National Science Foundation fellowship.

Goss began attending classes on the CU campus at age 13, after completing four years of high school at Silver Creek in Longmont. She attended a Montessori school when she was younger and was home-schooled, as well.

For her first three years at CU, she commuted by bus from Longmont. This year, she lived in the dorms.

During an interview, Goss talked about volunteering with the Environmental Center, including serving on the Environmental Board that awards grants for sustainable campus projects.

"I want to have a direct impact on the CU campus while I'm here," she said.

Environmental Center Director Dave Newport remembered when Goss walked into his office in the summer of 2009 and said, "So, I have been looking at everything the Environmental Center does and I think I can help you a lot. And the good news is you don't have to pay me because I'm only 13."

While at CU, Goss was a Norlin Scholar, a Marjorie Skiff Rose Scholar and a Barry M. Goldwater Scholar. She also won an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program grant while working as an intern in a water chemistry lab.

She supplemented her honors research into trace gases in the atmosphere and isotopic substitution with a year-and-a-half of work with another campus research group at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. That research involved dust deposition from the atmosphere in the Rocky Mountains.

"I helped develop and improve dry deposition collection," she said.

In her free time, Goss said, she enjoys running and reading -- and she's teaching herself to knit.

"I've got 3½ feet of a scarf so far," she said. ___