Exercise and Sport Science Assistant Professor Marc Norcross began his career as an assistant athletic trainer and instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and later served as a research and teaching assistant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned a master’s degree in Exercise and Sport Science with an Athletic Training specialization and a PHD in Human Movement Science with a concentration in Biomechanics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.
What made you decide to get into this field? Is there one specific moment that inspired your career path?
“I was first exposed to the athletic training profession in high school and was struck by the enormous impact that athletic trainers (ATs) have on the lives of student-athletes. From that point on, I knew that I wanted to be an AT. However, it wasn’t until I completed a thesis during graduate school that I realized how much I enjoyed conducting research and teaching. While I decided to work clinically for a few years before pursuing that path, I knew that one day I would end up on the academic side of the profession.”
Why did you choose Oregon State?
“Having spent most of my life on the East Coast, I didn’t know a lot about Oregon State when I came to interview. However, very quickly it became apparent how committed the college was to actualizing the vision of promoting lifelong health and well-being. The opportunity to contribute to that goal and work with some amazing individuals along the way was one that I couldn’t pass up.”
“Be it teaching or research, my favorite part is the interaction with people – students, other faculty, participants – and the building of relationships. No matter the subject, it doesn’t feel like work when you are doing it with like-minded individuals who help to move things forward in directions that you could not have imagined on your own.”
What do you believe is your greatest accomplishment in the field of EXSS?
“At this stage of my career, I am still laying the necessary groundwork that will hopefully build toward something that can be considered a great accomplishment. However, I’ve been fortunate to be around some very successful individuals and have learned that truly great accomplishments will speak for themselves – if you have to tell someone about it, then it probably isn’t so great.”
How are you going to change people’s lives with your work?
“The work of our group – Mark Hoffman, Sam Johnson and Viktor Bovbjerg – is focused on finding a way to increase the effectiveness of injury prevention programs for high school student-athletes. Although the risk for injury during sports will never be totally eliminated, we hope that we can impact individuals by reducing their risk for injury so that they can continue to participate in sports and remain active for the rest of their lives.”
What is the best advice you ever received, and who gave it?
“The best career advice I have ever received was passed down from my thesis mentor, Kevin Guskiewicz, to my doctoral mentor, Troy Blackburn, and then on to me.
‘You will never have a problem with research productivity if you are always actively writing one manuscript, have another manuscript in review and are collecting data for the manuscript after that.’”
What advice would you like to give to students and young alums?
“Don’t be afraid to follow your instincts and take a chance now and again. Some of the best decisions you will make in your life only look like great decisions after you make them.”
What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?
“During my stint as a clinical AT, I was fortunate to work with two national championship teams and an Olympic gold medalist. My daughter loves to take the championship rings in for show and tell, but they are bit too gaudy for me to wear around.”
What are your favorite activities outside of work?
“With two young girls, I don’t have a lot of time for leisure activities. My favorite activity is spending time with my family, but I am hopeful that as they get older, the three women in my life will let me get out and pretend that I know how to golf more often.”