Sarah Traenkle: From California to Colgate

Sarah Traenkle: From California to Colgate

For senior Sarah Traenkle (“Traenks”), moving from busy Los Angeles to quiet Hamilton, New York was a daunting task. They had never lived on the east coast before — let alone met anyone from the Northeast. This transition was difficult for Traenkle, as they were suddenly placed into an unfamiliar world. Sitting in their Russell House dorm room within the Bryan Complex, Traenkle wondered how they would fit in and pass the time while living in such a remote area.

Coming from an athletic background, Traenkle felt excited by the chance to join a sports team to meet new people and connect with the campus community. Specifically, Traenkle felt drawn to Colgate’s rugby team. 

“My mom played rugby at her college and as a basketball player who would unusually get fouled out, I wanted to try a sport where I was allowed to tackle people. The team quickly became my main group of friends and my family on campus. So many people with so many different backgrounds join the team, and being on the rugby team really allowed me to meet new and interesting people at Colgate. The rugby team honestly kept me from transferring to another university,” Traenkle shared.

Rugby became a home for Traenkle they shared many fond memories with their team, both on and off the field. One of their favorite memories was made during their first year when they were just beginning to learn the game. 

“My favorite rugby memory was scoring my first try [during my first year]. I didn’t know that you had to place the ball to the ground to actually score a try so I just stayed standing in the try zone because I was extremely confused. But then I heard my team yelling ‘place it down place it down!’ And I touched the ball down and got my first try,” Traenkle recalled fondly.

Because of their happy memories with the team, Traenkle happily accepted the position of captain. They hope to give back to the team that made their time at Colgate less intimidating. Traenkle holds many responsibilities as captain. 

“My job as a captain is to help plan training sessions with our head coach and co-captains and to keep everything running smoothly at practice. We also communicate with our coach about any issues or troubles the players are having. But as a whole we are the leaders of the team that guide the team through practices and tournaments,” Traenkle stated. 

Aside from their position as captain, Traenks is very involved around campus. They are a biochemistry and LGBTQ+ Studies double concentrator, a biochemistry and biophysics research assistant, leader of Clay Club, a member of Green Earth Gang and a leader of Trans Advocacy Group (T.A.G). All of their involvements have helped them grow into the person they are today. 

“I have been able to find myself through the environment Colgate has produced. I’ve made many great friends and have had amazing professors but I have also had some pretty difficult experiences that have allowed me to grow. I am more with my queerness now,” Traenkle shared. 

Traenkle feels that throughout their years at Colgate, they have been able to gain a strong education, great group of friends and become more confident in their queer identity. These tools drove them towards their plans post-graduation. 

“I plan on going to NYC to receive my masters in public health focusing on sociomedical science at Columbia Mailman School of Public Health and recieve a certificate in sexuality and sexual and reproductive health,” Traenkle said.

Traenkle will remain on the east coast after graduating from Colgate University this spring. They took a leap of faith in choosing a school so far from their California home, but through their resilience, Traenkle made an unfamiliar place feel like home.