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Well-Trained and Well-Rounded

Jessika Mozia feigns playing her tennis racquet with a violin bow.

Student athletes at the U of M are plenty busy, thanks to coursework, practices, and games. But many don’t stop there, and spend their limited free time on diverse activities. Here are three standouts.

Jessika Mozia (pictured) is a hard-driving ten­nis player, a walk-on team member who earned a full scholarship after an outstanding freshman season. But just as important to Mozia are her creative endeavors—writing and playing violin.

Mozia begged to start violin as a kindergartner in Colorado, and she was a regular at recitals and competitions throughout high school. She also writes regularly, penning poetry and short stories. Two of her poems and a short story have been published in collections and her hometown newspaper. 

Gopher swimmer Ben Bravence noticed that most career fairs at the University happened when student athletes were at practices or compe­titions. He got frustrated, and then he did something about it. Bravence developed the concept of a job fair for student-athletes, convinced admin­istrators to back it, and helped make Pro Day happen in October 2014.

It was held on a Monday night, a time when athletes typically don’t have practices or competitions, and attracted nearly 600 student athletes and 45 employers.

When she’s not on the ice for the Gopher women’s hockey team, Lee Stecklein can be found volunteering with the U of M’s Maroon and Gold Impacting the Community (MAGIC) program. This past summer, she helped organize the HopeDay Festival, an event for families of children battling cancer and other life-threaten­ing illnesses. 

The largest community service event for Gopher Athletics, it’s held every fall at TCF Bank Stadium. About 500 current and alumni student-athletes attend, along with 200 families.

University of Minnesota, Twin Cities