Brains and Braun
by Bo Churney, Georgia Tech Social Media Fellow
The Georgia Tech football program is often lauded for placing greater emphasis on performance in the classroom than most other college programs. Even within the context of the school’s academic rigor, offensive lineman Michael "Trey" Braun stands out when it comes to achievements off the field.
Braun, the starting left guard on one of the most efficient offensive line units in NCAA football, graduated in December with a degree in mechanical engineering. He was also a part of an award-winning group at the most recent Capstone Expo, which showcases ideas and inventions from Georgia Tech students. Braun's team developed devices designed to help thirld world nations.
Braun’s Capstone group worked with Amigos for Christ, an organization founded by a Tech alumnus that runs a kitchen in Nicaragua. For their project, they worked on a new convection peanut roaster for Amigos for Christ, which used it in the production of peanut butter to help feed Nicaraguan children. Braun and his team also worked with women in the African country of Mali on new peanut shellers as part of his Capstone project.
“The women in Mali, a lot of times they shell peanuts as part of their income. So we worked on a shelling tray that would make it easier to shell the peanuts without breaking the kernel, because when they break the kernel, that sort of ruins the sale value for them,” explained Braun.
It may seem like his hard work and academic success is shattering the stereotype of the “typical” football player. But, he said, “I think everyone who plays football at Georgia Tech is busting that stereotype, because it is not a school where you can take it easy. There are no easy classes.”
Braun credits part of his success to the structure the program provides. He detailed his schedule, from early morning workouts, to the essentially mandatory 8 a.m. classes, all the way to afternoon football practices. With that time locked up, Braun says he and his teammates have learned to plan their time more efficiently, including schoolwork and leisure time (some of which Braun has devoted to doing stand-up comedy). Braun also stressed the importance of scheduling even the most mundane things — like eating.
“That’s one big thing, you have to eat all your meals. That’s important. That’s something I think most students may take for granted, but you really have to plan out time to eat.”
The collective commitment to both school and sport have created a deep camaraderie within the Georgia Tech football program, a program that is experiencing some of its greatest success in the past two decades..
“I’m excited about the Orange Bowl. We’ve been practicing really hard, and we’re really excited to get this opportunity. It’s a huge Bowl, it’s probably one of the biggest stages a lot of us have played on.”
The Orange Bowl will wrap up an exciting month-long stretch for Braun. He helped the Tech football team beat Georgia 30-24, played in the ACC title game, presented and won at Capstone, and graduated. Braun will also be getting married in January.
Though he has graduated, Braun’s career at Georgia Tech is not over. Braun still has a year of eligibility remaining with the football program and will begin work on his Masters in Business Administration in the Spring 2015 semester. “Oh, I’ll be back,” he said — for another year of leading Tech on the field and in the classroom.