Student Stories: Gabbi Gruver

Ageu Nunes

Major: Political Science/Speech Communication

Because her mom is a paralegal, Gabbi Gruver grew up surrounded by lawyers and interested in law.

“As I got older, my interest in politics and law grew,” she said. “When I see and hear about cases of discrimination and human rights abuses in the news, I have this inner drive to do something to help those who have suffered. Social justice and change are two things that I am passionate about and that has led me to my major.”  

When she was considering college, Gruver was debating between different career and educational options, including going into the military. While she wasn’t sure what to pursue, she also knew that she didn’t want to work full time in order to pay for her education.

Student Life at COD

“For many reasons, I also didn’t want to leave home for a university right away, so I decided to come to College of DuPage, which was one of the smartest things I have ever done,” she said. “COD helped me meet my personal goals through a variety of opportunities, such as being part of the Living Leadership Program, becoming a New Student Orientation leader, and being involved with Phi Theta Kappa, the COD Percussion Ensemble, the Community Band, and the Forensics team. Everything helped me grow as a person and I learned how to become an effective leader.”

Gruver considers her involvement with the Forensics team one of the highlights of her time at COD. She traveled to five different states for competitions and won numerous awards, including two Novice National Championships for both debate and speech.

Being part of the Honors program also turned out to be a smart decision. Gruver was encouraged to join by one of her Psychology professors.

At College of DuPage, you can find everything that you would at a university while learning from some of the best professors.

Gabbi Gruver

“While I was hesitant at first, I quickly learned that I was surrounded by students who had a passion for education and learning just as I did,” she said. “I enjoyed honors classes because they are smaller, so you have more open conversations and your opinions are heard. I had the opportunity to take Leadership Development as a seminar class, which helped me grow as a leader and gave me the opportunity to work on a campus-wide project. The honors classes were some of my favorites and were taught by some of the best professors at COD.”

In addition to earning her Associate in Arts degree, Gruver also completed an EMT certificate, something she had wanted to do for many years. Through the connections she made, she found a part-time job easily and worked as an EMT for Edward Hospital in Naperville.

Gruver transferred to North Central College and earned bachelor degrees in Political Science and Speech Communication. She also was an integral part of the school’s forensics team, winning four state titles and a national forensics championship in parliamentary debate with her partner, as well as being named an American Forensics Association All-American.

She then worked for Teach for America in Milwaukee, a nonprofit that helps underserved areas by filling in teaching positions that otherwise would be left open. Gruver also completed a Master of Arts in education at Alverno College and is now finishing a Master of Arts in political science at Marquette University, where she serves as a research assistant. She also coaches speech and debate in her free time and volunteers with Big Brothers/Big Sisters in Milwaukee. In summer 2023, she completed a prestigious internship as a graduate intern with the Wisconsin Policy Forum, a non-partisan research organization. Her next educational goal is to earn a Ph.D., and she currently is applying to programs in educational policy.

Gruver advises students considering COD to look at everything the school offers.

Honors Program at COD

“You can find a club for every interest, be in the Honors program, join a sports team, study abroad, work on campus and so much more,” she said. “Don’t let the fact that it is a community college deter you from making one of the smartest decisions of your life. At College of DuPage, you can find everything that you would at a university while learning from some of the best professors, who helped me realize what I wanted to do for a career and taught me how to accomplish my career goals through education.”

Learn more about the Political Science program at College of DuPage

Learn more about the Speech Communication program at College of DuPage