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PhD candidate awarded Oregon SHAPE Association Grad Student Scholarship

David Schary

Exercise and Sport Science doctoral candidate David Schary is mystified by a contradicting trend in the United States: over the past 50 years there has been an exponential growth of research in exercise science, but at the same time, the public’s physical activity levels are stagnate.

As a result, his research explores how exercise scientists can better transfer their research into practice in an effort to improve the public’s physical activity levels.

That work has not gone unnoticed. David is the 2012 Oregon School Health and Physical Education (SHAPE) Association Graduate Student Scholarship award recipient.

The award is given to a graduate student majoring in a teacher preparation program for health, physical education, recreation or dance. It is determined by academic accomplishments and future aspirations.

This past year, David, who completed his MPH in biostatistics in December, published four articles with both EXSS Professor Brad Cardinal and Paul Loprenzi – an OSU alumnus who is now an assistant professor at Bellarmine University. He presented his research at the 2012 American College of Sports Medicine national conference, 2012 Oregon SHAPE conference and the 2012 Oregon Public Health Association conference.

David Schary

Practicing what he preaches, David during the 2008 San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

“While I am honored to be recognized and proud of the work I have accomplished since coming to Oregon State, I cannot take credit for everything,” David says. “Receiving this award reminded me to thank those who have helped me. I have been fortunate to meet and work with some very talented researchers. The support and guidance I received from Dr. Brad Cardinal, Dr. Vicki Ebbeck, Dr. Adam Branscum and Dr. Tony Wilcox is far beyond what I expected.”

David’s interest in exercise science was sparked by his experience coaching crew. He rowed all four years as an undergraduate at the University of California, Davis, before taking on the role of assistant crew coach at the University of California, San Diego. It was then that he realized his desire to learn how the body works and how to motivate athletes.

That passion eventually lead him to Smith College, where he conducted research and completed his master’s degree in exercise and sport studies before coming to Oregon State. His research interest has since shifted from sports to physical activity.

“I want to share all of this important knowledge and research in exercise science with the public,” he says. “Everyone knows that physical activity is important, yet the majority of people are still inactive. I want to help bridge this gap by making research results applicable, fun and inspiring. This will hopefully not only educate people, but also empower them to take the research and apply it to their lives.”

David also hopes his work at Oregon State will help establish exercise science as a leader in the field of health promotion and preventive medicine, not only in academia, but to the public at large.

“I am proud of David and thrilled that the Oregon SHAPE Organization selected him for this statewide recognition,” says Cardinal, David’s doctoral program advisor. “David epitomizes the ideals and values of the academic community, and he is already contributing to making the world a better place through his teaching, research and service efforts. The unique blend of his knowledge and skills in translating research to practice across and within the disciplines of public health and exercise and sport science fits in beautifully with OSU’s mission, and it positions him to make a real difference in the lives of people now and in the future.”

“I hope that I will be able to help and encourage others the way I have been here at Oregon State.”

While at Oregon State, David has enjoyed teaching physical activity, fitness and health courses. He says his favorite experience has been the freedom to pursue his research interests.

“My time at Oregon State has truly been a blessing,” he says. “I am thankful for the many opportunities given to me and the support I continue to receive. It has opened avenues for personal and professional growth that I did not even know existed.”

David, who used to write for The Daily Barometer, plans on using the monetary award he received to start a website.  There, he’ll blog about exercise and sport science in an attempt to inform and inspire others to become physically active.

After graduating, he hopes to obtain a tenure track faculty position in an exercise and sport science department. His goal is to share his passion for physical activity by showing people how research can help change their lives.

“It is rewarding to hear that something you said or produced inspired someone,” he says. “I hope that I will be able to help and encourage others the way I have been here at Oregon State.”