From June 22-July 7, Justin Ebron, a junior at Eagle Academy for Young Men in the Bronxparticipated in a two-week program, "Summer@Brown." While at Brown UniversityEbron took a media psychology course as a way to broaden his understanding of the psychological impact media has on people, groups, and cultures. 

Ebron began wrestling as an 8th grader at the Eagle AcademyThough he was initially interested in pursuing football, the team was cut. This resulted in Ebron taking an interest in wrestlingAfter speaking to Coach John McGarry and Ryan Cooley, Ebron decided to give wrestling a try. 

Ebron described his favorite wrestling moment as when he lost a match 3-0 going into his freshman year. He acknowledged that calling a loss his favorite moment comes across as odd, but he elaborated by saying, "I realized that your mentality must be strong in order for you to wrestle at your full potential" After the match, he spoke to his coach, who told Ebron that he didn't lose the match because the other kid was better than him, but rather that Ebron lost because he stopped wrestling. For Ebron's freshman season, McGarry and Cooley would say “wrestle like it's the 3rd period. This served to remind him of that match and develop his mental toughnessEbron's mantra since then has been, "You only break physically if you break mentally. 

Ebron hopes to one day become a state champion. He is inspired by wrestlers who've come before him who either placed at states or became champs. "While sparring with these people or talking to them, the one thing that they all have in common is the fact that they put everything into bettering themselves on and off the mat," says Ebron.  He additionally plans on wrestling at the collegiate level and would like to coach after college to help youth achieve their goals. "I would like to give back to the same community that took me and helped me to develop as a person," says Ebron.  

Ebron described that wrestling has impacted him through helping him gain lifelong friends and family. Wrestling also helped him get over any shyness that he once had, allowing him to become a more vocal person.  

Outside of wrestling, Ebron enjoys singing and writing music. Music has played a large role in Ebron's upbringing, and his interest took hold early in life. He hopes to one day pursue a career in music therapy, due to his passion for music, interest in psychology, and desire to help peopleIdeally, would  like to be able to help individuals with cognitive disabilities.  

Ebron is a part of a program called Summer Search, "a nonprofit that works to help low income students transform and develop their skill sets to prepare them for adulthood." He began his involvement in the program when he was a sophomore. As a junior, he was given a few options for how to spend the upcoming summer, and decided on Summer@Brown. He decided on an academic course, because he wanted to be exposed to university culture and gain insight on what college life is like. His desire to study music and psychology in college fueled Ebron's choice to take Summer@Brown's "Media Psychology" course.  

Ebron had a "phenomenal" time. Though he didn't get to wrestle with the college team, he did get to meet a wrestling coach and incoming freshman one dayDuring his conversation, Ebron was given insight on the college wrestling experience. "I was told that collegiate level wrestling is a different monster than that of high school," said Ebron. He continued explaining how athletic talent alone doesn't suffice-- "if you do not perform at your very best all the timeit will hurt you in matches." 

Outside of this interaction, Ebron had an amazing time being exposed to Brown's Ivy League campus and its intellectually engaging student body.  Ebron recounts quickly becoming close to new friends he met during the program. While Ebron met many people and made many memories, a notable meeting for him was when he met Ms. Christina Paxson, the president of Brown University. This meeting gave Ebron a better idea of the diversity in the university. According to Ebron, Paxson's establishment of the First-Generation and Low-Income Students Center demonstrates the university's commitment to increasing diversity. "Ms. Paxson understands that there are bright kids from all backgrounds." Ebron concluded that he will carry this experience when he returns to school in September. 

When asked what advice he'd give to younger wrestlers, he emphasized the importance of not cutting weight. While weight management may be important, Ebron believes it is better to focus on improving as a wrestler"Cutting weight doesn't make you better, but focusing on your mental toughness and technique does," said Ebron.  

John McGarry,  the Head Coach at Eagle Academy, has worked with Ebron for seven years. Over the years, McGarry has watched Ebron become an "an amazing young man."  

 McGarry continues that Ebron has "grown from a shy kid into an outgoing confident young man who dreams of going to Brown and has been working hard to get there." He hopes to help Ebron achieve his dreams. 

We also hope that Ebron achieves his dreams. We're confident that his hard work will take him far. Good luck, Justin Ebron! 

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