This week, we recognize Kaelyn Gamel as one of NJIT’s most notable athletes. Gamel, a 5th year student here at NJIT, is currently in the process of completing her Masters Degree. Reflecting on both her athletic and academic careers here, Gamel stated she would gladly do it all over again.
Gamel was introduced to sports at the young age of 4, by her dad, who registered her for soccer. She lived in Buffalo, NY back then with her 2 siblings and her 2 beloved beagles. She described how Buffalo is called “ski country” by the residents there, as the town is known to receive record-breaking amounts of snow throughout the winter season. This is the town that started it all for her and where she still returns home to whenever she can.
“The first time my dad took me soccer practice, I actually cried, I didn’t like it at all,” said Gamel.
However, Gamel soon grew a passion for playing soccer and by the age of 6, she was already on a U10 team. She talked about how a lot of coaches saw things in her that they didn’t necessarily see in others. With this type of support, Gamel advanced to play at the varsity level during her 8th grade school year. After playing soccer since a young age, we asked Gamel what her favorite aspect of the sport was.
“I loved the competition that came from playing,” said Gamel. “I am a very competitive person and I was just motivated to keep pushing and accept these challenges”.
Gamel would like to thank all her family and especially her parents in particular for supporting her throughout the years. Gamel recalls all the times where her parents drove her to Syracuse for games and practices when she played on a club team. She appreciates the sacrifices that they made doing that, especially since they still had to return home in time to go to work early in the morning. Without this support for her passions, Gamel admitted that she may not have had the same opportunities growing up.
Once she got to NJIT, Gamel felt blessed as she had another 4 years to keep on playing. However it wasn’t all easy going, Gamel expressed how adjusting to college life was hard at first, due to the stress it put on her. Gamel was involved in so many things, she was the President of her senior class, VP of the Athletic SAC, and was even apart of the Women’s Fencing team during her junior and senior school years. As you can imagine, Gamel had very little time not occupied by an activity.
“Sleep was the last priority for me,” said Gamel. “…especially since practice was at 6am every week happening 6-7 times a week & since we had lift three times a week I was constantly sore”.
However despite this, Gamel is grateful for all the opportunities that came with being a student-athlete. She loved traveling for away games and experiencing the feeling of walking through airports dressed up in all her NJIT gear, it made her feel special. With these travel experiences, we ask Gamel which are her favorite places to travel.
My favorite place to travel to was Arizona and Florida for sure,” said Gamel. “…those places are just so beautiful”.
Gamel expressed how being an athlete was amazing, especially with the bonds that are formed when on a team.
“Athletes are a community and because you’re always together, due to practices and scheduling, you become automatic friends with everyone,” said Gamel.
Gamel also expressed how athletics kept you out of trouble, as sleep or catching up on work, was valued higher than going out on weekends. Other than the perks of being an athlete, Gamel is grateful to have met her boyfriend, Nick Marzulla, through sports. Marzulla is a current goalie for NJIT’s Men’s Lacrosse Team. Gamel often gives him advice on his athletic career, especially with time management.
“Yeah ever since I finished sports, I’ve had so much free time to sleep and stuff,” said Gamel, with a laugh. “…but I’m obsessed with keeping in shape, I love working out and tracking my steps with my Fitbit”.
Gamel described her last season as exciting and emotional and we asked what feelings were going through her knowing that this will be her final year at NJIT.
“I played soccer all my life so I was scared that my career was close to finished, but luckily by the end of the season my feelings changed and I was ready to part with soccer”.
Gamel is proud to have represented the Highlanders throughout her college career. On her achievements, Gamel expressed how she is extremely proud to have helped her team get into the ASUN Conference two years ago and wishes the team the best as they move on forward. Gamel now sets her sights on designing and inventing at the Flammang Laboratory with Dr. Brooke Flammang herself.
Gamel is currently working on a project involving the adhesive disks mini sharks use to attach themselves to larger animals. She is researching this subject so as to try and recreate a better adhesive that works when wet.