Student-Athlete Wes Schweitzer

San José State starting offensive tackle Wes Schweitzer was about to join the Marine Corps when he got the first of seven scholarship offers to play college football. His decision ultimately came down to San José State and Hawaii. But after visiting the Spartans, the Scottsdale, Arizona, native realized, “I like the atmosphere at San José State.”

Wes Schweitzer poses in classroom lab

Photo: Stan Olszewski

Inspired science

Who got the 2012 Academic All-WAC honoree and two-time San José State Scholar-Athlete interested in science? “That would definitely be my grandpa, James Schweitzer,” says the chemistry major. “He was a nuclear engineer in the Army for 25 years. He always talked about science and how important it is. That influenced me a lot.”

Head in the clouds

In spring 2013, the six-foot-five-inch Schweitzer started an internship in Assistant Professor Annalise Van Wyngarden’s lab. The research team studies the effect of acidic particles in the atmosphere on climate change. “We have a pretty good understanding of greenhouse gases,” he explains. “But we are not sure if the acidity of these particles heat up or cool down the atmosphere.”

Observe, measure, experiment

Using mass spectrometers in a Duncan Hall lab has been an eye-opening experience for Schweitzer. But he always plans for all possible variables. “If I can’t get into the NFL, I’ll try to get into a good Ph.D. program,” he says. “If that doesn’t happen, I’ll pursue the Marine Corps.”

Balanced inquiry

“This may sound cheesy, but being on the team made me into a man. The hardships you go through. The time you put in. And then balancing that with academics,” says Schweitzer. “People who aren’t in sports and in college at the same time don’t understand the commitment that it takes to be the best in both.”

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