Jordan Bolger ’16 has learned a lot of lessons on the basketball court: discipline, work ethic, commitment, how to demonstrate a go-to attitude.
Most of all, the biology and mathematics major from Apple Valley, Minn., has learned how to apply those lessons to other areas of his life.
“Coach (Rich) Glas always has emphasized that people who are dedicated to basketball will be dedicated to other things,” Bolger says.
Bolger found that to be true this summer.
He had the basketball opportunity of a lifetime. The Cobber forward was one of 10 NCAA Division III players selected to represent the U.S. on a tour to play basketball in Brazil. He joined – and enjoyed it.
But most of his summer was spent conducting research on aquatic invasive species under the mentorship of Dr. Michelle Marko, biology and environmental science.
“Like basketball, research is a lot of hard work but it’s rewarding too,” Bolger says.
Bolger was immersed in researching elodea, a waterweed native to Minnesota but invasive in France. He and another student are co-inquirers with Marko. They helped with literature searches and formulated research questions. They collected and analyzed data. And they did a lot of problem solving.
“Jordan is hard-working and interested in making a difference in the world,” Marko says. “He’s one of the best we have.”
Bolger stepped away from the research project for a couple of weeks to travel to Brazil where he played against pro teams and helped lead youth clinics. Glas encouraged Bolger, who had never traveled internationally, to join the U.S. team when he was invited.
“Jordan is the picture of a true student-athlete,” Glas says. “He disciplines himself to do his best in the classroom, but playing college basketball is important to him as well.”
After graduation, Bolger hopes to enter dental school where he will continue to connect his passions for science and sport.
As a high school basketball player, a game-time accident nearly took his front teeth. Since then, Bolger promotes the importance of athletes wearing mouth guards. It’s something he’ll preach to future patients.
In the end, he can thank basketball for inspiring him to become a dentist.
He can thank his biology and math mentors for preparing him.