Mindy Gabriel (Stauffer) rowed for Ohio State from 1997 to 2001. In that time, she garnered Second Team CRCA All-Central Region recognition for rowing in the First Varsity Eight boat and was eventually named captain of the team. Mindy was also a four-time Ohio State Scholar Athlete and two-time Academic All-Big Ten Honoree, and Big Ten Medal of Honor finalist following her senior season.
An Exercise Science major at Ohio State, Mindy now works as a firefighter and paramedic in Upper Arlington.
Learn more about her experience with Ohio State rowing and how it helped her get to where she is today!
What made you want to pursue your current field?
When I left Ohio State, I was an athlete without a team. Being a firefighter has many similarities to team sports and it was a challenging career path. I was drawn first to the team part, then I fell in love with the what the job was: solving problems under pressure, helping people, and never having the same day twice. I don’t think I would enjoy an office job.
How has rowing helped you become successful in your professional and academic career?
You are the company you keep. I was surrounded by hard driving, awesome, gritty people at OSU. I have always applied that work ethic and kept the bar high in my professional life. My relationships with many of these woman remains today and has served as a solid support system that has kept me challenged as I have experienced the ups and downs of my career.
How did you balance being a member of the rowing team and being enrolled in such a challenging academic course load?
Busy people also know how to just get it done. As an athlete, I had to plan ahead to fit it all in. People waste a lot of time talking about all they have to do and then avoiding doing it. We would use others complaining as cue to put our heads down and finish our course work. I hold myself to high standards in all parts of my life, not just in athletics.
What made you want to join the Ohio State rowing team?
I wanted to be part of a hard working team of women. The sport was tough and I love the kind of people it attracts.
What is your favorite memory of your career as a Buckeye?
There are a bunch of highlights, but I am drawn to the simple stuff. I loved rowing in the morning when it was quiet and the fog was lifting off the water in the fall. How the boat would glide when it was set up…..Amazing!
If you could give a piece of advice to Ohio State rowers and/or students, what would it be?
Be brave. Put yourself out there and don’t be afraid to fail. You will get more out of not overthinking the risk of investing in relationships, pulling hard in the boat and doing excellent in your courses then holding back thinking that you are not good enough, ready, or belong. When you are uncomfortable, that is when real growth is happening. Always be striving to grow.
What do you think sets Ohio State rowing apart from other programs?
The people are awesome and they know that it is a privilege to be part of it. It is a gritty team with hardworking Midwestern values. We don’t let other teams out train us.