University of Oregon

Department of Human Physiology Graduate Studies in Athletic Training and Sports Medicine

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Becky Verkerke
Becky Verkerke ATC
email: rverkerk@uoregon.edu

Becky hailed from the University of Michigan and will be graduating in June ’05. In Jan. ’05 Becky presented an educational seminar at the Big Sky Sports Medicine/Athletic Training Conference titled “Identifying Disordered Eating in Female Athletes”, as a portion of her thesis. She spent the last two years working with Intercollegiate Soccer, and Track & Field. She hopes to launch a career that will allow her to continue educating others on topics related to athletic training.

What would you tell an applicant to ensure their expectations about our program were as accurate as possible?

Your graduate program should fit your personality. It should not just be a means to the end, but rather a place where you enjoy the entire journey. The University of Oregon is a place that allows creativity, offers unique research opportunities, provides and encourages teaching experience, and allows you to take the direction that is individual to your needs and goals. The support system here is incredible. The professors in our program are all very challenging, knowledgeable, and willing to help you. Even more importantly, everyone in the department serves as great mentors and friends.

What insight about graduate school do you now have that you wish you had when you were applying to graduate programs?

I wish I had more of a direction from the beginning. I came here right out of undergrad, because I thought that it was the next logical step to make. It turns out, I probably would have gained more by taking some time off and figuring things out a little more before I decided to take the next step and attend grad school. Through my two years here, I have come to the realization that I want something really different now then I thought I did when I first came. Although I have no regrets that I came in when I did, I would encourage more people to take their time when deciding to come to graduate school.

What is an accredited post-certification athletic training masterís program, and why would anyone want to pursue a graduate athletic training program instead of a graduate degree in another discipline.

We get to learn a lot about the research in the sports medicine field. It is important to be able to critically think about why we do a lot of the things that we do as athletic trainers daily in practice, and make educated decisions regarding different preventative, treatment, and rehabilitative methods. Also, we become better athletic trainers by getting to take courses (for free) on manual therapy, the female athlete, and other treatment techniques.

Do you believe that as a member of our graduate AT program you have developed important relationships that will provide you with professional or personal support in the future?

Yes!!! I could not think of a better advisor, mentor, support system, professor, and friend than the head of our graduate program, Susan Verscheure. She has allowed me to grow so much as a student, person, and professional during my two years here. She listened to me when I needed professional advice on my clinical experience. She guided me when I needed direction with my thesis. She hugged me when I needed a mother. She took me to lunch when I needed a friend. She always supported me 100% through everything. I can't think of anyone I'd rather have on my side. And I know that she will be a friend and mentor for the remainder of my life.

I have also met many people here who I will remain friends with forever. For that alone, this whole experience was worth it.