During her time at Northern, senior Gabrielle Gruenwald has been involved in German Club and played the alto sax in marching band her freshman year, but rugby has been her constant.
Rugby is often a sport many people see themselves unable to play, but Gruenwald, a senior and the current team captain thinks otherwise. “Anyone can play. Girls think that they’re too small to play rugby or not tough enough, but rugby is one of those sports that capitalizes your strengths.” She joined the team freshman year with the encouragement of the team captain at the time, and she recalls being one of the first people on the rugby team at Northern. Throughout her time at NSU, Gruenwald has noticed some misconceptions about rugby, the biggest being that rugby is violent. She stated, “Rugby is not a violent sport. It’s an elegant and aggressive sport. You might get injured and accidentally hurt somebody, but that should never be the goal.” Originally from Redfield, SD, Gruenwald commented on why she was drawn to NSU, “I had some friends who already went to Northern, and just listening to their experiences and all of the things they were involved in made me want to come here.” Gruenwald also liked the idea of a smaller campus. Besides being the rugby captain, pursuing a major in psychology with minors in business and gerontology has been keeping her busy. Gruenwald also contemplated mortuary science as a future career, stemming from an interest in helping families with the grieving process. “I felt that would be something I could do, and something that would be really rewarding.” Aside from academia and extracurricular campus activities, baking has been a growing passion for Gruenwald. “My big dream is to open a bakery with a coffee shop someday.” Past barista experience is under her belt, and working at Aberdeen’s local business CJ’s Patisserie has provided her with first hand experience, helping the owners with cake decorating, making delicious sugar flowers, and mixing up the cake batter. Whether she’s playing rugby or pursuing baking, Gruenwald keeps herself busy with activities she is truly passionate about.