Athletes in Engineering

The Benedictine College School of Engineering has a unique quality of attracting of Student Athletes. Of over 200 total students currently enrolled in engineering, many are varsity athletes. Among the Athletic Departments which have students pursuing an Engineering degree are: Football, Baseball, Basketball, Volleyball, Track, Cross Country, Soccer, and Dance.

Current Student Athletes

Keenan Graef: Wrestling and Track

A member of the class of 2021, Keenan understands the challenge of a student athlete, commenting, “I think it seems very intimidating going into a major with such a heavy course load and splitting your time with a sport.” However, he knows that it is a challenge that can be met. “What is often overlooked is that, to get to the point of being a college athlete, you have already learned to balance your time and work hard to do well in your classes and get all of your assignments done,” he explains.

As a Mechanical Engineering student with limited time, Keenan emphasizes, “You know that you need to get as much done in that time as you can.” He describes one of his strategies, “My advice is to knock out as much as you can any time you have an hour or two free, then chip away at smaller assignments when you only have a little time to work.”

Many teams schedule study tables as well as practices. Graef encourages, “If you sit down and stay focused during those study tables, you will have more than enough time to finish everything you have.”

Keenan’s conclusion? “I think that doing both athletics and academics here at BC is extremely doable if you are willing to put in the effort.”

Liam Morel: Cross Country & Track

Liam Morel from the class of 2021 is pursuing minors in mathematics and philosophy in addition to his Mechanical Engineering major. He explains, “I was looking for a rigorous course load going into college and that is exactly what I received as an engineering student.” Liam came from a home based education to the Benedictine College engineering program, which was “a satisfying challenge.”

Cross country practice, as for many other teams, is every day of the week for two hours starting at 4 pm. For Morel, practice is “a great way to release after classes are through for the day.” Many students not in sports struggle to make use of this time between classes and dinner, and Morel notes, “I did not feel like I was missing out on too much.”

Community, one of the hallmarks of Benedictine College, provided a network of support and encouragement. Liam describes, “The team held me accountable on and off the track while my fellow students were in the trenches of homework with me just trying to survive together.” As a result, he explains, “This kind of interaction formed relationships and was very beneficial.”

“At times the rigor felt overwhelming, but looking back, I think many people could be successful as an engineering student and an athlete at Benedictine College.” He encourages, “It is very gratifying to look back at how much you have grown after a year of tough academics and three seasons of training and competing! I am blessed to be a Student-Athlete Raven!”

Hannah Thomazin: Volleyball

Hannah Thomazin, a Mechanical Engineering major in the class of 2020, finds that playing a sport often helps her as a student. “If I'm stuck on a homework problem or am having trouble in class, I can go to practice to get my mind away from it for a while. Then after practice, I'm ready to tackle whatever problem again, and things become clearer,” she explains.

Hannah knows that pursuing an engineering degree while competing at the collegiate level isn’t easy, but requires discipline and time management. To stay organized with classes, assignments, practices, and games, she says, “I have my entire day scheduled out in my Google Calendar so I know what I need to be doing and when.” She has also taken summer classes to lighten her credit load during the season.

Studying engineering as a student athlete may be difficult, but Hannah thinks that the returns are definitely worth the effort. She concludes, “At the end, I'll have a solid degree that will help me have a good job plus I got to play a sport that I love with girls that became part of my family.”

David Breda: Soccer

A Civil Engineering major in the class of 2020, David Breda knows that being an engineering student athlete can be intimidating. "Studying engineering while playing a sport sounds a lot scarier than it really is. It's all about time management,” he explains.

Understanding the need for balance, David advises, “Work on your homework and assignments in the morning or in between classes so you can be done before practice. That way you can just relax after practice.”

Breda also addresses the potential conflict between athletics and academics: “Another important key to success is developing strong relationships with your professors so if you have to miss class for games or what not, things can be worked out and you can get the help you need.”

Student Athlete Alumni

Greg Danner: Cross Country & Track

As a Mechanical Engineering major in the class of 2015, Danner was brought to engineering by an interest in automotive engineering. “I worked at a distribution company and traveled around to many manufacturing plants which piqued my interest in engineering even more.”

While a senior Cross Country & Track runner, Greg Danner held to a strict schedule to make sure that there was time for academics, athletics, and free time. “I balance a varsity sport and engineering by staying very organized and focused and keeping myself on a tight schedule,” he said. Something especially important for an athlete with limited time, Danner understood how to study: “Study with a small group of friends. Study smart and don’t over study. Getting sleep is usually more important than cramming all night, especially when your body is worn out from practice.”

Corey Gaunt: Soccer

Corey Gaunt, from the class of 2015, had a very busy schedule and described, “I have to give up hanging out with friends much during the week because there is no time. I basically wake up, go to class, go to soccer, eat, homework/study and then back to bed.”

Gaunt doesn’t like to take away from anything, but “…I worry about soccer during soccer time and engineering during school time.” He liked to study with a small group of people with whom he shared most of his classes.

Corey explained something that is true for all athletes in Engineering, “Engineering + Athletics = lots of dedication!”

Raymond Gragg: Football

A member of the class of 2014, Raymond Gragg explained how the coaches helped him balance a varsity sport and engineering, “It’s all about time management. The coaches were a great asset instilling a since of time management for every second of a day. If you treat each day as a job, accounting for all your time in a day, you will develop the skills needed to succeed.”

Raymond also stressed the importance of free time, “If you go go go for too long you will burn yourself out. School is not a sprint but an endurance race. Luckily you have a chance each semester to take what you did correct before and build on it as well as fix what didn't work.”

The key to engineering is to keep trying, explained Raymond, “Engineering is a difficult major, and if you are struggling with it don't lose hope. There are professors and other students that want to help you. That's what's so great about a place like Benedictine, the small numbers give big support.”