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Motivation, Drive And Hard Work Push Hockey's T.J. Mathieson

Oct. 29, 2003

By Tori Blainey

TJ Mathieson doesn’t know the meaning of “free time” but his devotion as a student-athlete has more than paid off.

As a junior Engineering major, Mathieson received one of the most prestigious awards in Notre Dame’s School of Engineering – the Patrick J. Deviny Scholarship award for persistence and enthusiasm in Aerospace Engineering studies – as voted by fellow classmates and professors.

Described by Mathieson as one of his greatest academic achievements, the Diveny Scholarship has not been lonely on his list of academic awards. This hard-working, dedicated student has been inducted into the Tau Beta Pi national engineering honor society in recognition of his achievements in the classroom as a Dean’s List student in all six semesters at Notre Dame.

With a 4.0 grade point average for the fall semester of 2001, Mathieson starts his senior year with a 3.812. On top of these, and many other past accomplishments, Mathieson is also a candidate for the prestigious Rhodes, Mitchell and Marshall scholarships for post graduate studies.

This past summer, the Irish hockey defenseman worked for General Electric Aircraft Engines in Cincinnati, Ohio. Just what does one do in an internship involving aircraft engines you may ask?

The senior blueliner explained in quasi-simple terms that the average non-engineering person would understand.

“It was a great experience for me at General Electric this summer,” said Mathieson.

“Mainly we did stress analysis of the high-pressure turbines found in the engines. We then took the analysis and modeled it in a program and ran tests on it through computer analysis and wrote reports on our findings.”

For a talented engineer to be like Mathieson, there could be more of this in the future.

“Everything is up in the air right now,” said an undecided Mathieson.

“One of my top choices would be to work for [General Electric]. Probably doing something a little bit different than what I did [this summer] but working in a similar industry.”

While all this is months away, Mathieson currently has to focus on classes such as Aerospace Propulsion and Integrated Business in Engineering.

What sets Mathieson apart from the rest of the student body is the fact that he is also a talented hockey player who dedicates almost the same amount of time and energy to hockey per day as he does to school work.

A typical day as described by Mathieson goes something like this.

“I pretty much get up, lift, go to class, go to practice, go to dinner and then do homework until it’s time to go to bed. That’s my routine pretty much every day.”

His time devoted to homework every night ranges from 4 to 6 hours depending on course loads and exams.

When asked what one of the hardest things about being a student-athlete is, Mathieson said, “Getting respect from some of the teachers. They kind of tag me as an athlete and assume that I don’t do all my work.”

But work is what Mathieson does best. On the ice, at practices and in games, in the weight room and in the classroom, he is capitalizing on the experiences he is getting at Notre Dame.

Notre Dame’s mix between the hockey and academics are what brought the 6-1, 201-pound defenseman to Notre Dame.

“There aren’t too many schools that have Aerospace Engineering and Division I hockey. Getting a chance to combine the two worked well for me,” says Mathieson.

With the new school year well under way, Mathieson, the only Notre Dame hockey monogram winner from the state of Maryland, and the Irish hockey team are looking forward to the 2003-2004 season.

Notre Dame opened the Central Collegiate Hockey Association season with splits at Ohio State and Bowling Green before last weekend’s big upset win at top-ranked Boston College.

Practices lately have been focused on attitude development. Mathieson has learned, “What we can control and what we can’t control.”

The Clarksville, Md., native has been looking to improve his individual skills in the early stages of the season with his focus on passing.

Mathieson is excited about the new additions and returning players on the Irish roster this season.

“We have a lot of opportunity and I think we can go somewhere with this season. We have a lot of good players,” says Mathieson.

Despite the numerous awards in Mathieson’s academic and hockey career, there is still one big goal in sight.

“Ultimately, the biggest goal is to win a national championship. That’s a goal I’ve wanted to achieve since I’ve been here,” added the Irish defenseman.