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Noah Gade, a two-time OSU graduate who ran track and cross country for the Cowboys, will compete in the marathon at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday.

Running down an Olympic dream with Noah Gade

Friday, January 26, 2024

Media Contact: Terry Tush | Director, Marketing and Communications | 405-744-2703 |

Noah Gade has been busy during the first month of 2024.

A two-time Oklahoma State University graduate (bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering, 2017, and master’s in quantitative financial economics, 2019), he is preparing to defend his doctoral thesis this spring, recently accepted a tenure-track teaching position at Wake Forest University and — as if he needs one more reason to stay busy — he’s been training to compete in the marathon at the U.S. Olympic Trials on Saturday.

But living a lifestyle on the run, both literally and figuratively, is nothing new to Gade. In 2018, as a member of the Cowboy track and cross country team, he was honored with the NCAA Elite 90 Award, one of the most prestigious honors given to NCAA athletes for academic excellence and athletic prowess. A Stillwater native, he has spent the past five years pursuing his doctorate in statistics at the University of Virginia. He expects to graduate in May and will begin his teaching position at Wake Forest over the summer.

To qualify to compete in the marathon at the Olympic Trials, the 28-year-old Gade had to complete a sanctioned marathon in less than two hours, 20 minutes. He ran 2:17:33 at the New Jersey Marathon last April to qualify. He recently shared his thoughts with us as he prepares for Saturday’s Olympic Trials in Orlando, Florida.

You will be competing in the marathon at the U.S. Olympic Trials, where more than 220 runners will be trying to place in the top three and represent the U.S. at the Olympics in Paris. What are your expectations? Do you expect to continue running competitively in the future?

NG: There are many talented and hard-working individuals that qualified, and this will be an extremely competitive field. I hope to enjoy the experience of the weekend and take it all in. At this point, I am more focused on running for enjoyment, but I certainly won’t rule out future races if I am spurred by a sudden urge for competition.

In 2018 while competing for OSU, you were honored with the NCAA Elite 90 Award, presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 90 championships. Six years later, what does that award mean to you?

NG: At the time, I think I was caught up in my athletic performance and the team performance because we didn’t finish the 2017 season as well as we had hoped. Looking back now, I have a much greater appreciation for the award and its significance, as well as how cool it was for the university to win the award back to back (Christian Liddell won the award in 2016-17). I think it’s a testament to the academic environment in athletics at Oklahoma State, and the phenomenal support from faculty, staff and coaches. I am grateful for that support, and the award is really a credit to that culture at OSU.

What made you want to pursue a career in higher education?

NG: My mom is in higher education (Dr. Mary Gade is an associate professor in the Department of Economics at OSU), and I essentially grew up on a college campus. Plus, I had several great mentors in college, including two professors — Dr. K. Darrel Berlin and Dr. Ashlee N. Ford Versypt — at OSU that really sparked my curiosity and made me want to do the same for future students. I really enjoy the environment and the energy on campus and fell in love with the rewarding experience of teaching. From a research perspective, it’s a bonus that I have the ability to pursue problems in a field that I genuinely find interesting, and I have the ability to set my own work agenda.

How did you get to where you are today, preparing to graduate with your Ph.D. in statistics in May and recently accepting a tenure track faculty position in the statistics department at Wake Forest University? What are you most looking forward to as a tenure track faculty member?

NG: I’m excited to join the young, up-and-coming department at Wake Forest University, and to contribute to their success in teaching high-quality students and conducting exciting research work. A lot of this is a credit to my support system, my family, my cohort in the doctoral program at the University of Virginia, my advisor, and several other faculty in the Department of Statistics. I am most looking forward to working with the students and helping them achieve their goals, whether that be obtaining field specific skills for a job post graduation, learning course content, preparing for exams, conducting their own research or anything in between.

How did OSU and Spears Business help prepare you for your career?

NG: The Spears School of Business reinforced the skill of lifelong learning, which is now a major theme in my career. When I was unsure of my future and what job opportunities I wanted to pursue, I used graduate school as a stepping stone to figure it out. I jumped around subject areas, and had to play catch up with some of the initial curriculum in the MSQF program because I was not as familiar with the material as many of the other students that had a business background. I went through this process again, jumping into a Ph.D. in statistics after graduating from OSU, and the initial experience in Spears was invaluable. It gave me a lot of confidence going forward and will continue to benefit me in the future.

Who were the Spears Business professors that helped you the most?

NG: I really owe a lot of my current success to Dr. Tim Krehbiel, who was the MSQF director when I first started the program in the fall of 2017. I was coming from an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering, and he provided several valuable resources that were necessary when learning a new subject area. He also provided a push to challenge myself, and the support when I was initially intimidated by the program.

What is one (or a couple) skills, personality traits, etc. that have been applicable to both making you a better Olympic level athlete and a better business professional?

NG: Two skills that have been very useful to both athletic and academic achievement are time management and having a short-term memory. The first was very useful throughout my undergraduate and graduate degrees. In looking forward to a tenure-track position, time management to balance between research, teaching and service to the department will continue to be valuable in my day-to-day work. The short-term memory skill took a bit longer to develop; any endeavor has its share of ups and downs, and learning to not dwell on the negatives has been very beneficial. This applies to running when I experienced bad races or workouts, and it applies to research when a project is delayed, rejected or encounters unanticipated challenges. Keeping the project in perspective and continuing to look forward when met with these challenges, is very helpful.

What advice do you have for the next generation of Spears Business students?

NG: Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and pursue something you are excited about. And, if you don’t know what you want to do yet, that’s okay. You can always make changes and switch up your field if you are willing to put in a little extra effort.

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