Scholar Stories: Determination Key to Callow’s Successes at Michigan

Scholar Stories: Determination Key to Callow’s Successes at Michigan

By Morgan Wagner

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” — Winston Churchill

For senior men’s soccer defenseman Brennan Callowthis quote is something that has shaped his time at the University of Michigan and has helped him remain level-headed on and off the pitch.

Three years ago, unlike most freshmen, Callow stepped onto campus with a clear major and career path in mind: pre-med. In high school, he always excelled in math and science and enjoyed problem solving and critical thinking, which ultimately led him to pursue a major in biomedical engineering.

“I love my major and love that I picked it,” said Callow. “I’ve been having a really good time. I think if I had to do it again, I’d absolutely pick it again.”

Although biomedical engineering can be overwhelming, Callow knows how to draw a definitive line between athletics and academics, which helps him stay focused and make sure each gets done to the best of his ability.

“When I’m on the field, it’s athletics time and when I’m at home, it’s academics time,” he said.

The University of Michigan stood out to him due to the combination of high-caliber academics and athletics offered. To his surprise, his coursework in engineering and playing soccer have much more in common than one would expect.

“The coursework in engineering is focused around a lot of team activities and projects,” said Callow, a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree. “Being in engineering and having that team-focused coursework has made me a much better teammate and leader on the field.”

The Cincinnati, Ohio, native has not always had the opportunity to be a leader on the field. After not seeing game action in his freshman year and his sophomore year being delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the future looked bleak. The tides turned his junior year as he made nine starts in 11 games for the Wolverines and has piggy-backed that success in his senior year.

“Putting on the jersey before a game is pretty unbelievable,” he said. “You get to represent Michigan, you get to wear it across your chest and walk out onto that field with everyone there. It’s pretty surreal.

“I knew coming here that it was going to be a big deal, but once you start doing it and you hear your name called in the starting lineup, it kind of just feels like you can do anything you want.”

Between managing his demanding course load in engineering and marathon athletic schedule, Callow continues to find ways to make time for his other passions and interests. He strongly believes that making time to enjoy the things he is passionate about is a big component of managing his mental health throughout the school year.

On top of playing soccer, Callow has encouraged his teammates to join him in an extracurricular pen-pal program with local fourth-grade students where they exchange monthly handwritten letters. He also doubles as a research assistant in the School of Engineering’s Cartilage Healing and Regeneration Lab to further his studies.

He also is heavily involved in the Michigan Athletes Towards Careers in Healthcare club. Last March, he facilitated the organization of the 2022 Athletes in Medicine Medical Conference, which introduced student-athletes to opportunities in healthcare by featuring roundtable discussions with professionals from various fields.

Not only has Callow provided an outlet for other student-athletes to discover their passion for medicine, but he has benefitted from the fruit of his labor as well.

“It let me learn a lot about the field that I want to go into and the process that is involved in going to med school,” said Callow. “I think having those one-on-one conversations with medical professionals was really valuable.”

Through his ups and downs and successes and failures at Michigan, Callow continues to demonstrate his determination. With big plans of applying to and attending medical school in the next few years, Callow understands the importance of prioritizing what makes him happy and remaining balanced.

“You can’t take (failure) too heavy because there’s more coming and there’s more opportunities,” he said. “You can’t get too high about the highs and too low about the lows. You just got to keep doing and I think for me, I take every day and every minute at a time, and just continue to do my best in whatever I’m doing.”

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