Getting to know: Vicki Ebbeck

“Practice gratitude, starting with your education that is such a privilege,” Vicki says.


Vicki Ebbeck is an associate professor and coordinator of the Exercise and Sport Science graduate program in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences. She previously served as an assistant professor of Sport and Exercise Psychology at Oregon State. She earned a master’s degree and PhD in Physical Education and Human Movement Studies at the University of Oregon.

What made you decide to get into this field?

“Fortunately someone who knew me better than I knew myself suggested I look into Exercise and Sport Science, which I had not even considered as a career path. There was no turning back after discovering a field where I felt comfortable, curious, excited, challenged and committed.”

Vicki Ebbeck is an associate professor and coordinator of the Exercise and Sport Science graduate program.

Why did you choose to work at Oregon State?

“It was the perfect fit for me in terms of the faculty, academic program and location. I was familiar with the impressive caliber of faculty that I had already worked with on collaborative research projects, and I could see my scholarly interests aligning with the direction the faculty were moving the program in Exercise and Sport Science. It was a priority for me to work with graduate as well as undergraduate students, and so I found the degree offerings at the master’s and doctoral levels to be most attractive. Also, I had grown fond of Oregon, having received my graduate training at the University of Oregon (yes, a Duck to a Beaver) and valued the opportunity to live in the state where ‘She Flies With Her Own Wings’ (the state motto).”

What is your favorite part about teaching exercise and sport science?

“Recognizing as I head to class that I am looking forward to enjoying the company of my students.”

How are you going to change people’s lives with your work?

“By listening to the people with whom I work, be they students, colleagues or research participants. Knowing where they are coming from better informs my work and allows me to tailor what I do to create the best alignment for change.”

What is the best advice you ever received, and who gave it?

“A friend advised me that ‘nature will provide’ when I was nervous about an upcoming skill session that was part of a basic mountaineering course. The lesson has continually revealed itself in situations such as finding a minute hold when rock climbing or happening upon some blackberries that give me the needed energy to finish a trail run.”

What advice would you like to give to students and young alums? 

“Practice gratitude, starting with your education that is such a privilege.”

What is one surprising thing about you that not many people know?

“That I actually have a sense of humor.”

What are your favorite activities to do outside of work?

“Play outdoors (hike, bike, paddle), be transported by an engaging movie and connect with family and friends.”