Grand Valley State University women's volleyball player Clair Ruhenkamp is one of seven student-athletes chosen to take part in Northwestern Mutual's Rose Parade float in Pasadena, Calif., this year.

The students were chosen by Northwestern Mutual for achieving "greatness by overcoming adversity and inspiring others to achieve their goals."

Each athlete was chosen by essays they wrote about overcoming personal adversity during their playing careers.

Ruhenkamp , an education major from Fort Laramie, Ohio, was an all-Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference honoree during her freshman and sophomore seasons. Her essay was about the adversity she faced when she lost her starting job in her junior and senior seasons.

Ruhenkamp said, "Throughout my career I have had to overcome the tough transition of being a starter to sitting the bench. While I would love to be on the court, the lessons I have learned from being on the other side has been a life changer."

Ruhenkamp ended her Laker career eighth in GVSU history in assists per set (7.56) and ninth in assists with 2,056. She was also a part of the team that advanced to the NCAA Division II national semifinals last month.

Each student-athlete receives a $5,000 scholarship.

The Northwestern Mutual NCAA float is displayed on the parade route during the 126th Rose Parade Presented by Honda on Thursday in Pasadena, California. (Photo: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)