8-12-17 Update to this post! John recently retired from the NFL to pursue his Ph.D. in Mathematics at at M.I.T.. You can follow @JohnCUrschel on twitter and see his many contributions in promoting STEM education and success in math.
Originally posted 2/16/2017
Get to know John Urschel and share his story with your students! You’re sure to spark a lot of inspiration and great discussion in your classroom while infusing a positive attitude towards mathematics.
John, the 25 year-old, 6’3″, 300-pound offensive lineman on the NFL Baltimore Ravens loves football AND he loves Math. In the off-season, he’s working to earn his doctorate from MIT in the science of advanced applied mathematics. In this Real Sports interview, when asked what is the goal of math? John responds “to understand, to learn, to push forward.” With a 4.0 GPA and undergraduate degree and standout football career at Penn State, John has worked hard every step of the way.
His Mom reflects on how she would challenge him to calculate tax and retail change while shopping at the grocery store when he was young. He embraces the competitive nature of math just like he does on the field in the NFL. His perspective on mathematics is refreshing! For John, “it’s me versus this unknown” and when he solves a problem it’s “the best feeling in the world.” you will also get a peek into his home library, where a title on randomized algorithms sits on his bookshelf. He’s the type of athlete that also keeps a chalkboard in his bedroom in case “a quadratic equation pops into his head in the middle of the night. Oh yes, and in his “spare time,” he’s teaching himself Russian or competing at the Genius Gala with US chess champions! What a role model for our students and our kids! The stereotype that you can’t blend high- achieving academics with professional sports is crushed by John. To top it all off, his positive attitude and warm smile alone will inspire all of us to follow our passion!
Catch Real Sports anytime on HBO.
John isn’t the only Ph.D. in the NFL, learn more about football great Frank Ryan!