East Central University alumnus and Duke University Assistant Professor Dr. Courtney Karner spoke to two ECU biology classes and a group from the McNair Scholars Program Monday in the Estep Multimedia Center of the Bill S. Cole University Center.
Karner is a research faculty member in the Department of Orthopaedics Research at Duke in Durham, N.C. and spoke to the ECU students about glutamine metabolism and bone formation and how they are trying to reduce the effects of osteoporosis.
By going through ECU’s biology program, Karner says he learned about a broad range of avenues in the field, which prepared him for graduate school and beyond.
“Most people focused on one area (of study) and I knew a little bit about everything, because of what I experienced here” said Karner.
Karner says not letting anyone else control your fate is the key and going the extra mile.
“You never let anyone be in control of your destiny,” Karner said. “It’s also about pretty much putting more effort into things than you have to do.”
Karner played offensive tackle on the ECU football team and was a CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) NCAA Division II Academic All-American in 2003 and earned numerous academic and athletic awards while the Tigers were a member of the Lone Star Conference.
He says football also prepared him for his career.
“Work ethic and preparation…you always have to be ready for people who are bigger and better than you,” Karner said. “There may be someone or a group in China working on the same thing you are. You have to outwork them and beat them to the punch. That’s something I have always taken to heart.”
Upon graduation from ECU, Karner underwent graduate training at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas and did his postdoctoral training at the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Mo.
He and his wife Brittany have two young children – Myles and Molly.
Karner was not only in town to speak to the students, but was in for a reunion with some of his former ECU football teammates and to attend the induction ceremony for ECU’s Dr. Gerald Williamson into the Oklahoma Higher Education Heritage Society Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.