Hodges rushes back from Texas

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Football profile_ Ben Hodges 4_EDITED
Hodges interned at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston over the summer.
Photo by Hoang Nguyen.

Ben Hodges has never been able to stop asking why, and this summer was no different.
“I annoyed my parents because I always asked ‘why’ too much,” said Hodges. “I like being aware of the world around me.”
For nine weeks, Hodges, a senior running back, interned at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, studying in the neonatal intensive care unit.
Baylor College of Medicine is the No. 6-ranked physician assistant program, according to U.S. News & World Report.
Hodges, a biology major, will play in the team’s home opener Saturday against Loras College at 6 p.m. at the Austin E. Knowlton Outdoor Athletic Complex.
After graduation, the co-captain hopes to attend graduate school to become a physician’s assistant but more importantly, to become just like his mentor, Dr. Douglas G. Burrin.
While studying with Burrin, Hodges’ goal was to comprehend how inflammation in the brain of premature infants affects their development, which he said was not the easiest of tasks.
“It was hard to stay current with all of the new studies that were being put forth on my subject matter,” said Hodges. “It was a tough learning curve, and it wasn’t until the end of my summer internship that I was beginning to feel comfortable with the topic. You catch up to that learning curve, and you just want to stay and keep going.”
Due to the tough learning curve, Hodges said determination was a key component to his research. This is not a new concept to Hodges, considering his leadership role on the team and his 2013 CCIW Academic All-Conference title.
“Ben is an incredibly hard worker, and a lot of the younger guys pick up on that and see the work ethic and success he has in the classroom,” said Ben Fornek, Hodges’ co-captain.
Yet, Hodges found that the most value did not come from his commitment to lab work, it transpired from Burrin’s will to learn.
“It’s easy to lose track of why you are doing research, and he was a really good example of a lifelong learner,” said Hodges. “He had that desire to ask questions and not focus on the notoriety of his job.”
Dr. Jason Koontz, one of Hodges’ advisers, said Hodges is not afraid to make inquiries.
“He is very dedicated, stereotypically sits in the front of the class, and asks good questions,” said Koontz, associate professor of biology.
Dr. Fen Fenwick, Hodges’ other adviser, said the only word to describe him is excellent.
“He never goes after grades because he enjoys learning, and that is his primary motivation,” said Fenwick, professor of psychology.
Although Hodges is dedicated to his future as a physician assistant that doesn’t mean he isn’t focused on his senior season with his teammates.
“I can confidently call my teammates my brothers,” said Hodges. “It’s cool to see how everyone has grown together, and it means a lot to me in that regard.”
Hoang Ben Nguyen/ Observer Staff   Ben Hodges takes a drink of water after a hard practice of conditioning. Hodges interned at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston over the summer.
Ben Hodges takes a drink of water after a hard practice of conditioning. Hodges interned at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston over the summer.
Photo by Hoang Nguyen.