2/11- Nittany Nation Report- John Urschel Math Wiz

Published 02/11 2013 06:48PM

Updated 02/11 2013 06:52PM

Chalk meeting blackboard.
The soundtrack of any Penn State math class.
This one is different, though.
It's taught by a Nittany Lions lineman.

"I try to challenge their thinking and foster true understanding," says John Urschel, a Penn State guard and graduate student.

The instructor, John Urschel, as his Twitter handle notes is where math meets football.
The 6-3, 300-plus pound Pen State guard has experienced a breakout year both on the field and in the classroom.
Urschel earned All-Big Ten honors in the fall and recently had his first paper published in an academic journal.

"I really don't like to be pigeon holed as either one or the other," Urschel says. "I just have interests in both that make me somewhat unique compared to what people are used to. But there's nothing strange about that to me. It's just my life."

That life can be a busy one for the grad student.
There are football workouts and practice, class, teaching, office hours plus research.
Somehow it all has to fit in a 24-hour day.
Urschel's solution: a true passion for it all.

"When you do something you're good at, it comes easy and it's not really work anymore," Urschel says. "I just do what I enjoy. And it works for me."

When asked how, if at all, math and football are related, Urschel says he sees parallels in the potential for growth and development.

"I love bringing along younger people," Urschel says. "Showing them things in the classroom. The same thing in the football field in the locker room. You have younger guys that come in and you try to help them grow. And you try to help them come along."

This mountain of a man, using both brain and brawn to mold young minds.

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