Dr. Loren Bertocci, director, exercise and sports science, has always had an interest in science and mathematics. In fact, the first two books he ever read were The Golden Book of Science
and The Golden Book of Astronomy
. Dr. Bertocci found choosing between the two fields difficult when he went to college, but he ended up deciding to pursue biology. He later received a doctorate degree in physiology.
Dr. Bertocci explained that in the past, exercise science programs were connected with physical education. Unlike other schools, the Exercise and Sports Science program at Marian University has a direct connection with the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine. Graduates from the program will be able to evaluate who they are working with and come up with exercise plans that best suit their needs, much like a physician does when they are evaluating a patient. Q&A with Dr. Bertocci Q:
What have you enjoyed most about working on campus? A:
There are three things that I’ve enjoyed doing the most. The first is interacting with my biochemistry students to get them to understand biochemistry at a level that is deeper than the text book. The next thing I’ve liked a lot is working with students on summer research projects. Over the last five years, these projects have led to a production of enough data that we can probably write and submit two or three manuscripts to the Journal of Biological Chemistry
. The third part I’ve enjoyed the most is working with the students, from rising sophomores onwards, to put them in a place where they can maximally match their academics and their intrinsic passions with what they are going to do as a career. Q:
Outside of teaching, what do you like to do? A:
I’m an athlete and have been an intensely competitive athlete since I was about eight years old. Most of my life, I have been involved with swimming and water polo, although I have done a number of other sports. I compete. I train to compete. I do competitive Olympic-style weightlifting, and last time I competed at nationals, I got on the podium. I competed at the Pan American Masters and got on the podium, and I qualified for the world championships for my age group and weight class. I do that with just as much seriousness as when I did swimming and all of the other sports I’ve ever done. Q:
What have athletics brought to your life? A:
It is the yin to my academic and intellectual yang. Everything that I do in an academic setting is entirely theoretical. It’s in a lab, it’s at a desk, it’s reading a manuscript, it’s trying to puzzle through the science. To actually get into a two-hour training session that leads to a competition allows me to disengage that piece of me and engage the other half of me that is not involved when I’m sitting at my desk and reading a manuscript.