Growing up on a tourist resort in remote Canadian wilderness wasn’t all fishing, hunting and water sports for Nicki Mosbeck. The American Sign Language (ASL) and interpreting major had to help with cooking for guests as well as loading, and unloading, her dad's bush plane.
“There was something new to do every day,” she says of the family business on Clearwater (aka Burditt) Lake in Ontario, Canada. “But I’ve learned to appreciate it.”
Nicki, a walk-on forward and senior captain for the Wildcats hockey team, left home at 16 — like her two older hockey-playing brothers — for Athol Murray College of Notre Dame. The Catholic boarding school in Saskatchewan is known for producing some of the world’s best hockey players.
“We were traveling all the time to games in bigger cities — usually by bus, sometimes five hours one way,” she says. “If I had an English assignment due tomorrow, it was still due tomorrow. The teachers were not going to be fooled with a line like, ‘Oh, I had hockey.’ I quickly learned how to be independent and responsible, and how to manage my time.”
Two Deaf teammates taught Nicki ASL in high school, specifically hockey signs, piquing her interest in ASL.
Nicki's proudest athletic moment was being named a captain of the Wildcats hockey team — a role she calls "extremely humbling."
Nicki, who has earned Academic All-Conference honors, still uses a traditional (paper) planner to stay organized. She also eats apples to stay awake. “I’ve been told they have natural caffeine,” she explains. “I’m not a coffee drinker.”
In addition to games and practices, this student-athlete works at the information desk on the St. Paul campus and is active in the Wildcat Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, Best Buddies, ASL Club and new-student orientation. Last fall, Nicki served as an Assistantship Mentoring Program (AMP) teaching assistant for two “ASL and English Text Analysis” classes taught by Professor Laurie Swabey.
“Nicki is passionate about learning and not afraid to take risks in order to learn,” says Swabey. “She can prioritize and keep things in perspective, and has a respect for Deaf people and the Deaf community.”
Recently, she shadowed interpreters for local hockey and basketball games through an internship with SportSign, a company owned by Terry Schwankl SP’96.
Nicki dreams of interpreting at the Deaf Olympics. “I’m not going to get rich from it,” she says. “But I would get to interpret for the sport I love and see other people have the opportunity I had to play the game."