Focus 2011: Denver

Focus 2011: Denver

Strengthening The Foundation: Denver
JWU Magazine 2011 Spring Focus DEN Curnalia 230x160

Jason Curnalia ’11 has been an athlete his whole life. Growing up in Tucson, Ariz., he played volleyball and in high school decided to pursue a degree in sports medicine. “My family and I went through the recruiting process trying to find the right fit and couldn’t,” he says.

It was an email he received in his junior year from the coach at JWU’s Denver Campus that changed everything. “He invited me to visit and check out the volleyball program. I talked it over with my parents and came out for a Career Explorations Weekend. It was awesome,” he says.

Curnalia met other volleyball players, toured the campus and discovered the sports, entertainment, event management major. That was the “fit” he was looking for. “I made my decision to come to JWU, then and there. There’s a level of human interaction in this field that I wouldn’t experience in sports medicine,” he says. “I help people experience some of the biggest and highest moments of their life and get to be creative.”

Curnalia says his faculty went “above and beyond” and thanks them for helping him meld his academic pursuits with his athletic and professional passions. He singles out The Hospitality College chair, Associate Professor Stephen Pyle, and Associate Professor Kimberly Tranter, saying, “Faculty here do more than give you a grade; they do everything to make you successful. I’ve been able to volunteer for the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs and integrate a class project into work I did with Colorado Performance Volleyball.”

His support system extended beyond the classroom. “Being involved in JWU athletics helped me with time management, staying in shape and being more confident,” Curnalia says. In his junior year, his coach secured him an internship in the events department at USA Volleyball in Colorado Springs. Curnalia enjoyed coordinating logistics and working on marketing and promotions and is leveraging all these contacts as he pursues full-time employment. “I use what I learned in class and on the court in my professional life, bridging clients’ skills and needs and my strengths.

“If you’re looking for the stereotypical college, JWU is not the place. If you’re looking to be involved with your industry, to network, to experience and build relationships from day one, then this is the place. Come ready to work and absorb everything you can.”

Curnalia now calls Denver home. “I’ve grown up and become my own person here,” he says. The city is ripe for professionals in his field. Colorado has nine professional sports teams, lots of college and university sports and people interested in outdoor activity. JWU was the perfect fit — the academics, the chance to keep playing volleyball and even the financial aid. “The scholarships I received allowed my family and me to appreciate this whole experience, he says.”

At-a-Glance: Denver Campus Student Body