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Charlie Bobby Talks About PSU Club Croquet, Future in Engineering, Meaning of Family & Faith

Dave and Lucy Bobby have six children in total. Five boys and one girl make up the Bobby clan, and each of their kids have found success in their own individual ways.

Oldest son Luke is an engineer for Honda. Their next son Matt is on a journey to become a priest. Their daughter Grace will soon begin her career as a registered nurse. Stephen is set to start his college football career next month in Florida. The newest addition to the family, a son named Raivis, whom the couple adopted a few years ago from Latvia, is set for his senior year at Elk County Catholic this upcoming school year. Lastly, there is the family’s third son Charlie. He will be a senior at Penn State this year, and like his oldest brother Luke, he is going to be a mechanical engineer.

Bobby graduated from Elk County Catholic in 2017, and headed to Penn State for college. Bobby was third in his high school class, and he credits having a strong educational base to his parents as well as attending Saint Leo’s in Ridgway. “I was very fortunate to go to Saint Leo’s,” Bobby explained. “The class sizes were so small, and I got a great amount of one on one time with my teachers. It’s amazing going from Saint Leo’s to Elk County Catholic because my graduating class from ECC was five times larger than my graduating class from Saint Leo’s.”

Growing up, each Bobby child learned to play the piano, and brothers Matt and Charlie have each now learned how to play the guitar as well. He explained playing the piano was not a preferred activity of his, but it taught him a lot of life lessons. “I do not believe any of us were super good at first, but we all got better over time. Learning the piano was a way to keep me grounded and it taught me how to remain disciplined and how to work through circumstances in life that may not always be the preferred.”

Bobby was also a two sport athlete in his time at ECC. Bobby was a standout in soccer, and was also an accomplished tennis player as well. He picked up tennis to be social and stay in good shape for soccer, and he ended up being the Crusaders number one tennis player for his senior year and was a part of a couple District 9 titles for ECC. If there is a theme that is presenting itself in this article so far, it is whatever he sets his mind to, he will find a way to find success.

A lot of credit for his success he says must go to his parents, family, and also his faith. When asking Bobby what family means to him, he paused and took a deep reflection on what his large family means to him. “ I am blessed with the situation I have been put in. I have lots of great family members who have done a lot of great things. Family provided me with a core I can always go back to. They provided stability, and I always have people who will support me and I can call and converse with. They have all supported me in my career in any way I wanted to go. Family is one of most important things to me.”

Family is incredibly important, but so is faith in Bobby’s mind. He had a great quote on what faith meant to him; “ I always have someone in my corner. God will let you fall, but he gives the resources to get going and get back up. If someone is trying to break from the path he has planned for us, he will find a way to steer us back to it. Something people need to understand, especially during the current pandemic, is that God literally tells us the world is imperfect. He never tells us if we believe in him everything will be easy. However, if we believe, our lives will have meaning and purpose. We have to have faith.” These are well thought out words from Bobby, and it shows the two most important things to him are easily faith and family.

Heading to Penn State, Bobby was unsure if he wanted to be a biomedical engineer or a mechanical engineer. Later in his time at Penn State, he picked mechanical engineering because it is a much more broad field. He was worried about what way he wanted to take his career as a mechanical engineer, but he recently discovered a passion and interest for sustainability and renewable energy. The class that has stuck with him is Mechanical Engineering 340 at Penn State, and the class is called Mechanical Engineering Design Methodology. Early in the class, he was beginning to like the topic, so he searched for internships in renewable energy.

One company he applied to was General Electric, and he was offered an internship for this summer working for GE Nuclear Energy, a subdivision of GE Power. He was scheduled to live in North Carolina for the summer, but was forced to stay in Pennsylvania for the summer to complete his internship remotely. Overall, it has been a great experience. He has been offered two potential tracks in which he would like to continue working for GE past this internship, but he is currently weighing which path is best, or if a different route with a different company would be best for him. It is a big decision, but he has taken his time in weighing all the options and potentials from each possible route.

Previously, Bobby was an intern at Amphenol Advanced Sensors in Saint Marys, and this is one of the top engineering internships in the area for college students. This experience with a Fortune 500 company was key in helping him stand out amongst others his age. While his career is very important to him, he has recently picked up a unique hobby while at Penn State. Bobby joined the club croquet team at Penn State this past fall, and has begun to really enjoy the sport. Croquet is most popular in the United Kingdom, and there are few club croquet teams in the United States. However, he insists it’s an underrated sport with great strategy involved.

The game can be played with singles or doubles, and it takes a great amount of skill paired with logic and forecasting potential scenarios. This spring, Bobby and his teammates were set to compete in the national club croquet championships in suburban Philadelphia, but the event was cancelled due to COVID-19. Next year, he is hopeful to have the opportunity to experience the event and compete against other schools. Some of the powerhouses in croquet in the US include Oklahoma Wesleyan, Saint John’s, Dartmouth, and the Naval Academy. The Naval Academy has the greatest tradition in croquet, but Penn State did recently win their first national title in club croquet back in 2017.

Croquet is a sport that has been through a lot in its time, and it went from incredibly popular when it was first invented to an afterthought It was an Olympic sport just one time, and oftentimes, people consider croquet a rich person’s sport. While there may be some truth to this, the college students who find enjoyment in this sport at Penn State surely make it an inclusive club. There are 50-60 regularly active club members, and the club also has a large committee for the charity event THON in which Penn State students raise money for childhood cancer. Next school year, Bobby will be a chair member for the club croquet THON committee. It is an honor to him, and will be a great way to cap off a great four years of college.

Ridgway native Charlie Bobby is a jack of all trades some would say, and they are likely not far off with a statement like this. He has strong faith, a great family, and a strong work ethic that will follow him wherever he decides to take his career. Club croquet may not be the preferred sport or the most known sport to Ridgway residents, but it is impressive and fascinating that one of our own is building his own success and enjoyment in this unique sport.