Meet Your Executive – Scott McLean, Education Officer

Posted on September 27, 2012

As you know, ISB newsletters typically feature a “Meet Your Executive Section”. This time, I was asked to contribute to this section and honestly was not sure what to write. So, as suggested by Darren, I went back and looked at previous newsletters to see how my more senior and experienced colleagues had approached this task. In doing so, I quickly realized how limited my experiences, career and thus my “Meet Me” section was going to be. My goal, therefore, is to stay active on the ISB council long enough to perhaps fill this section with more interesting experiences and career attributes in future Newsletter editions.

This is my first time on the Executive Council of ISB. I am in the position of Education Officer, which brings with it responsibilities of organizing tutorials for the upcoming Congress and developing new means through which to disseminate material to the extended biomechanics community. While I am relatively new in this role, I have already found it to be exciting and rewarding, providing a tremendous opportunity to talk and interact with a number of incredible biomechanists around the world.

My first experience with the ISB was through attending the 16th Congress in Tokyo in 1997. I had just initiated my PhD studies within the Department of Human Movement Studies at the University of Queensland. I attended the Congress by myself and remember being terrified at the thought of interacting with people that were my biomechanics idols. I was in the same room as the Zernikes, Cavanaghs and Normans of the Biomechanics world and had no idea why I was there or what I would say. I tried to gain some courage by going to a local bar and having a beer, which ended up being a career-changing event. Brian Davis, a past president of ISB, was also in the bar and we began talking. He informed me that the ISB would soon be announcing a new student travel award and that I should apply. I did just that and was soon on my way to work as a research intern under Brian at the Cleveland Clinic.

Ton van den Bogert had arrived in Cleveland at a similar time to myself. He was constantly writing programs or conducting model simulations in a small office in a back corner of the building. It seemed fascinating, so I would often walk past to try and get his attention, but was rarely successful. My constant pestering must have paid off, however, as he finally offered me a post-doctoral position at Cleveland in 2000. My post-doctoral training not only afforded me the opportunity to work under a tremendous and very humble mentor, but also allowed me to work closely with a number of past and present ISB executive, namely Ton, Brian, Mark Grabiner and Peter Cavanagh. I was also an active member of the Organizing Committee for the 2005 Congress, with my claim to fame being my designing of the congress mug, poster and CD artwork!!! I still have some mugs available for a small fee if anyone is interested. Other Congress highlights for me included being in the front row at the Rock’n’Roll Hall of fame for the Illiotibial bands’ one and only appearance, and coming a tie second with Toni Arndt in the air guitar competition.

In 2007, I moved to Ann Arbor to take up a Faculty position within the School of Kinesiology at the University of Michigan. It is here that I have seen my ISB journey come full circle. I am now on the ISB executive council, something I remember Toni Arndt and I had discussed in 1997 as mutual long-term goals. One of my biomechanics idols, Ron Zernike, is now my Dean. My own PhD students are now receiving ISB congress awards and I have undergrads in my lab that are excited at the prospect of embarking on their own biomechanics career and attending their first ISB congress.

The ISB has without question been integral in my own career opportunities and successes. It is a medium through which I have made many friends, established important collaborations and traveled the world. I feel honored to now be on the Council and hope that I can help generate the same passion and enthusiasm in new young biomechanists that I started with and still have. I’m looking for to seeing all of you next year in Brazil.

Scott McLean
Education Officer

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