by minton on February 27, 2019

David Moreau will graduate in May as Stat Crew’s GOAT. If you’re not familiar with sports lingo, that means Greatest Of All Time. David’s four years at RC coincide with Stat Crew’s four years of existence, and he has played a major role in the success and development of this experiment in academic-athletic collaboration. At the same time, David has excelled in the classroom, earned great physics graduate school offers, and been a valued RA and student leader in Resident Life.

Golf has played an important role (fore-most, if you’ll pardon the pun) in David’s academic career. He grew up in East Haddam, Connecticut, playing numerous sports (including fencing) and a jazzy tenor saxophone. Golf became his main sport, which turned his college search southward to find a longer playing season. Then his faculty interviewer in the scholarship competition at Roanoke College showed up with a golf book and an offer to do golf research. David likes to tease me that whatever good impression I made was diminished when the RC bookstore didn’t carry my book. An initial decision to go to Gettysburg was flipped when Roanoke College was able to offer more scholarship money.

In an unintentional bait-and-switch, I then enlisted David to be a founding member of Stat Crew, at the time a small student group with the vague goal of helping Roanoke athletics. The Stat Crew Seven were a diverse group with several majors and ages. This became both support group and play time for David. Juniors Taylor Ferebee and Connor Sampson were physics majors who could give advice on how to navigate the math and physics requirements. Senior Andrew Feeney declared that David would give a talk about Stat Crew at the next national math meeting. So he did, in Atlanta in 2017.

The first year of Stat Crew had a research-like feel as we met frequently to tweak our data collection and report processes. It was a fun collaboration. And David did eventually get to do some golf research. He has used the massive ShotLink data set to explore the markers for success on the PGA Golf Tour. He presented a poster at the Carolina Sports Analytics Meeting at Furman University in 2017, completed an excellent independent study in 2018, and is scheduled to present new work at Furman in 2019.

Life at Roanoke College has not been all golf for David, although he was on the RC golf team from 2016 to 2018. He is an outstanding student in physics and math, whose tests are used by us professors as answer keys. A summer Research Experience (REU) in 2017 at the University of Connecticut was disappointing as the work was unexpectedly changed from nanotech research to virtual reality programming for molecular biology. An internship at Integer Holding Company in 2018 and 2019 has given David practical experience in the laboratory. He has two fellowship offers from the University of Virginia’s Center of Applied Biomechanics, and is waiting to hear which laboratory at Virginia Tech’s Center for Injury Biomechanics will make its offer.

There have been some revelations along the way. David originally was going to do the dual-degree engineering program, spending three years at Roanoke and then two at Virginia Tech. A love of physics and Roanoke College kept him here (we’re thankful). David’s Dad accompanied him to Atlanta for his presentation at the national Joint Mathematics Meetings. The presentation was excellent, but the surprise for David’s Dad was how comfortable David is with his RC math professors, and how well he fits in the academic community. David, in turn, realized that he has absolutely enjoyed the college life.

Eventually, David wants a job developing products that help people. Helping people is part of what he has done with Stat Crew and Residential Life. Come to think of it, that was probably foremost in his mind from the beginning.