Hazleton, Pa. - Today's featured student-athlete is Robert Wright III from Stroudsburg, Pa. Robert is a three-year member of the men's soccer team and part of the 2016 squad that went all the way to the Penn State University Athletic Conference championship game. Wright returned to the field for the 2019 season under Head Coach Mikael Stephensson to play in 11 games for the Nittany Lions and make four starts as a defensive midfielder. Robert expected to go into the military after graduating from Pocono Mt. East High School but jumped at the opportunity to attend Penn State and participate in athletics. "Being able to participate was a great experience, especially since I didn't expect to be playing after high school.", stated Wright. "Head Coach Jesse Shadle got me involved as a freshman. He was probably the first person I spoke to when I got to campus and I'm thankful to him for giving me that opportunity."
Robert will complete his collegiate experience in the fall of 2020 and will graduate with a degree in Administration of Justice with a minor in Sociology. Wright plans to seek an entry level position following graduation and eventually plans to pursue a law degree.
We caught with Rob last week for a Q & A:
What advice do you have for your younger teammates or recruits participating in athletics?
Know what your priorities are. You can be great on the field but you if you let your academics slip, you will be letting yourself down. Take care of school and enjoy the time you have playing a sport.
What impact did athletics have on your experience as a college student and your life in general?
I joined up because it was fun. It helped me mature as a person and it teaches you to adapt in different situations. Sometimes it's not easy to agree with everyone so it was valuable to me in that I learned to work better in team situations.
What are you up to now during the quarantine?
Just finished up four classes this semester. Other than that, mostly I'm working on photography commissions and spending time with my girlfriend.
What is your favorite memory outside of athletics at Penn State Hazleton?
Rooming with Shay Nelson back in the fall of 2018. I remember him getting dressed up as Goku from Dargonball Z. He was hilarious and I miss him so much. I also really enjoyed working with the Lion Ambassadors as an advocate for the campus.
What role will soccer play in your life going forward?
I would very much like to continue to play recreational soccer down the road. As you I get older I may not be able to play as much but even then there are still ways to participate so I'll continue to follow the sport and stay involved in some way.
What was your favorite class that you took while attending Penn State Hazleton?
Effective Speech/Public Speaking with Professor Molly Brobst. It was unlike a lot of other classes that consisted of just homework and tests. She understood the challenges of public speaking and didn't penalize students who worked through those difficulties. That concept of forgiveness along with teaching us how to ease our minds made that one of the most interesting classes I have ever taken.
Are there any coaches, teammates or family members you would like to thanks for having a positive impact on your career?
I certainly want to thank my parents Camille and Robert Wright II as well as my girlfriend. I really appreciate all of their support over the years. I also want to thank Head Coach Mikael Stephensson for bringing me back this past year. He is very open-minded which is something I admire.
When I joined up in 2016, Ben Pasukinus and Mikey Principe both made an impact on me. They were the older guys on the team at that time and had really positive attitudes towards. Lastly, I want to thank the other seniors from this past season. Jack Pryma and Isaace Whitenight were really good leaders for the team.