Student Athlete Spotlight


  1. Name: Joe Oliva
  2. Class Year: Junior
  3. Sport: Wrestling
  4. Position: 149 lbs.
  5. Why did you choose Penn?
    I chose Penn because it offered the most complete combination of academic and athletic opportunities for me to achieve my long-term goals. Academically, I was eager to study a broad business curriculum, and Wharton presented an incredible opportunity to pursue these interests. Athletically, Penn Wrestling has a long history of success and I wanted to continue to compete at a high level. Additionally, after visiting the campus and meeting the team and coaches, it was easy to see that Penn was the right fit for me.
  6. What does the experience of being a Penn Wrestling student-athlete mean to you?
    It is an incredible opportunity and privilege to be on the Penn Wrestling team and attend school here. Penn Wrestling has provided an awesome community of friends, coaches, mentors, and other forms of support, and has made my college experience extremely valuable. There are so many people who contribute to Penn Wrestling in a variety of ways, and being apart of this program constantly motivates me to develop and grow as an athlete and person.  I am thankful for all that my experience as a student-athlete has and will continue to provide.
  7. What has been your favorite moment/memory with Penn Wrestling?
    My favorite moments have come while spending the past two summers training on campus with my teammates. Most of us try to seek internships in Philadelphia so that we can all train together and collectively work towards our athletic goals. Also, living together and exploring all that Philadelphia has to offer while being off from school for the summer has been a ton of fun.
  8. What has been your favorite class to date and why?
    Advanced Nutrition: Molecular Basis of Nutrition Science (NURS-523) has been my favorite class to date because it dives deeply into how the body functions, utilizes macronutrients, and reacts to various dietary and environmental changes. The course information applies directly to my life as an athlete and wrestler, so it is fun and interesting to learn about. It has been an exciting opportunity and challenge to be able to non-business classes across different schools at Penn, and I am now pursuing a minor in Nutrition in the School of Nursing.
  9. What does life after Penn look like (where you live, what you will be doing)?
    I am not sure exactly where life after Penn will take me. I am concentrating in Finance and Entrepreneurship within Wharton, so I have some interest in working within the consulting or financial services industries coming out of school. I would like to remain on the East Coast near my family, possibly in New York or Philadelphia. Nonetheless, it is still early to tell where I will end up and I am open to exploring whatever opportunities may come my way.
  10. What are some lessons that you have learned through athletics at Penn that will stay with you after graduation?
    Persist and believe in the process. This lesson is constantly preached in the grueling sport of wrestling. It takes time to grow and develop at anything, whether in school, athletics, or otherwise. Being a student-athlete at Penn, and specifically a wrestler, can bring many challenges and it requires a great deal of discipline, hard work, and resilience.
    Wrestling has taught me to focus on “controlling the controllables,” as oftentimes things do not go your way or may fall out of our control. I have learned to remain patient, positive, and stay focused on improving in whatever way I can to continue to move in a positive direction despite injuries and other adversity. I believe that the persistent work ethic and discipline that I have developed through wrestling will allow me to take on new challenges after college with intensity and excitement.
  11. Last year, over 224 Penn Wrestling alumni, family and friends made a financial contribution to your program to help provide you with things like equipment, training tools, uniforms, travel to away meets, meals on the road, sports medicine and sports performance.  What would you say to those who invest in your experience as a Wrestling student-athlete?  
    Thank you. We greatly appreciate all of the resources and support that we are granted as student-athletes. Every resource that is funded from your generous contributions - from our gear to travel opportunities to athletic training facilities – help us have an incredible experience at Penn as student-athletes and continue to work towards our goals, both individually and as a community. Your contributions are put to good use and we really appreciate the continued support.