Gabe Armstrong-Scott - the Kiwi who gave up on the Olympics and ended up at the UN

Gabe Armstrong-Scott - the Kiwi who gave up on the Olympics and ended up at the UN
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At the age of nine, Gabrielle Armstrong-Scott was a New Zealand record holder in diving.

By 14, she was representing New Zealand at the Commonwealth Games. And by 22, she has a degree from the Ivy League Princeton University and is now working for the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations in New York, which included assisting with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's high profile visit in September.

Add in talented violinist and rugby player and it's a resume that dazzles with it's diversity.

"I can be quite an intense person, I'll get really obsessed with something I'm working on and just want to do it 24-7," Ms Armstrong-Scott says.

Ultimately, that's what ended a promising diving career that looked destined to head to the Olympics.

Even after becoming New Zealand's second youngest Commonwealth Games competitor ever, Ms Armstrong-Scott made the bold decision to get obsessed with something else.

The hours involved with diving took its toll, and as she grew up through high school she became interested in other pursuits.

She took up the violin, and yes, excelled at that too, appearing in the Princeton orchestra and the New Zealand Youth orchestra.

She played halfback for the Princeton women's team, and rose to be the women's club president while completing a degree in public policy and international affairs at the prestigious university.

And now she's in New York, climbing the first rungs of the political ladder, but with no intention of diving off.

Ms Armstrong-Scott is on a four-month internship at the New Zealand Mission to the United Nations, taking in conferences on everything from trade to sustainability.

"I sit behind the little New Zealand plate and take notes on what's going on," she says.

Her internship was timed well - a few weeks into it, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern arrived in New York for the UN General Assembly, an all-hands-on-deck time for the Mission.

"That was incredible... one morning I was just in the kitchen getting my lunch ready and the Prime Minister walks in to get hers. It was pretty surreal".

Ms Armstrong-Scott's internship will wrap up just before Christmas. She's glowing in her assessment of time at the Mission, but isn't sure what's next.

"That's a great question," ponders the 22 year old.

She's looked into governmental jobs back in New Zealand, and had a short internship in Washington DC earlier in the year, but is keeping an open mind.

Her diverse resume so far suggests there'll never be one exact field she sticks to, but she can see herself going into government or business fields.

Just when, where and what exactly is not yet known.

"I'm the sort of person that will pack up my bags on a whim and move to another country because an opportunity presents itself".

So far, the right one's not come up. But when it does, you can bet that if she becomes obsessed with it - chances are she'll do a good job.


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