Student Athlete of the Month - February
Feb. 8, 2001
CHARLOTTESVILLE – Student Athlete-of-the-Month showcases an athlete who has demonstrated excellence both on the playing field and in the classroom. The February Student Athlete-of-the-Month, fourth year Jason Bernd, has displayed a strong work ethic in his academic and athletic endeavors. Jason is a Jefferson Scholar, a double major in economics and chemical engineering, and plans to graduate in May 2001. The Virginia Beach native donates much of his time to various service organizations, as well as the daily rigors of collegiate wresting, while maintaining a stellar academic record over the past four years.
Q: Why did you decide to attend the University of Virginia?
A: I think what attracted me the most to the University is just the atmosphere here. People are very serious about academics and extracurriculars, but they’re also serious about having fun and interacting. I think it’s a really great social atmosphere.
Q: How important do you think philanthropy projects and community service are to a fulfilling career as a student athlete?
A: I think it’s something that’s stressed a lot at UVa with Madison House, one of the largest student-volunteer organizations. I think it’s really neat being an athlete with the platform that you have. You can go almost anywhere — to young, high school kids, and just coming from the UVa athletic department these kids really perk up and listen to what you have to say. I think it’s been a really unique opportunity for myself as an athlete to be able to volunteer and give back to the community. I think that it reflects really well on the athletic department and it’s something that’s enjoyable. I think a lot of people enjoy doing it.
Q: Do you have a favorite professor here at the University?
B: Professor Robert Kelly, a materials science professor. He’s one of the guys that I got to know really well early on in my career at UVa. He’s a younger guy, he’s been a lot of fun. His class is one of the toughest I’ve had at UVa, but he’s one the guys that really enjoys interacting with students outside of class and helping you with problems. I feel like I learned a lot in his class, and he’s also the guy I’ve gone to for career advice. It’s been really neat to have a friend as well as a mentor in a professor.
Q: Are you planning on using your chemical engineering degree, your economics degree, or both, upon graduation?
A: I actually accepted a job two Sundays ago, I’m going to do consulting work. I’m not necessarily going to be applying my chemical engineering skills, although I’ll use the analytics that I think engineering teaches.
Q: What have you enjoyed most about being part of the wrestling program here at the University of Virginia?
A: I think the camaraderie you get on an athletic team is unparalleled. You spend all this time preparing for competition, practicing, and sometimes suffering under your coaches, so with some of the guys on the team you develop such a great bond with them. You’re able to go have fun with them, you’re able to work hard with them in the wrestling room and just share a lot of time and experiences with them.
Q: What are some of your personal as well as team goals for wrestling this year?
A: This is kind of a transition year for me. I spent a lot of last semester doing job interviews and wasn’t able to compete, so I spent a lot of the winter break getting back into shape for wrestling. I had the opportunity to wrestle in the Virginia Duals recently, the tournament I wrestled in during high school since I’m from Hampton Roads. I’m not sure how much I’ll be wrestling during the season, but I really enjoy the aspect of practicing with my teammates. I’ve helped practice with two guys who are All-Americans out of my weight class over the last four years. That’s been one of the greatest joys of wrestling. Maybe I wasn’t able to achieve that level of wrestling but just to feel like you’re a part of that and to see your teammates achieve and succeed as well, it’s been a great pleasure.