Assistant Professor of Kinesiology at Cornerstone University, Dr. Marty Marra, visited the United States Sports Academy on Wednesday, 17 June, to defend her dissertation on the perceptions of athletic administrators towards gender equality in schools.

Photo of Marty

Her quest for an institution that could accommodate her interests led Dr. Marra from studying at Western Michigan University to the campus of the Academy.

“I really wanted a Doctorate in Physical Education or something related to sports,” she said. “Neither Western nor any other school in the area could accommodate my interest.”

A friend told Dr. Marra about the Academy, and after she visited the campus she had made her decision to apply.

“I was amazed at how many well-known people have passed through its halls,” she said. “I was sold!”

As part of her current position with Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., Dr. Marra coordinates all freshmen Total Fitness and Wellness courses. She also wears the hat for several additional rewarding duties.

“I supervise student teachers out in the field of teaching prior to graduation,” she said. “I serve on various committees and attend many student activities.”

The Academy’s doctoral program was a perfect fit for her busy schedule at Cornerstone.

“I loved the format,” Dr. Marra said. “I am disciplined and have great time management skills, so keeping up with the work was easier for me.”

The communication and research that went into writing her dissertation helped Dr. Marra to gain more than just knowledge related to her topic of study. Dr. Marra said that she has also been thinking as a professional and has been able to communicate easier with her peers.

“Relating to others who have ‘gone before me’ in this process has been awesome,” she said.

Dr. Marra is looking into the future now that she has received her doctorate degree.

“This degree allows me to receive tenure and a pay raise,” she said. “It also allows me to seek other employment when and if that time comes, because I now have a terminal degree.”

Her professor, Dr. Fred Cromartie, is the most memorable part of her experience at the Academy.

“He never wavered and was always available to me,” she said. “His kindness and professionalism gave me the courage to finish strong.”

Dr. Marra plans to “pay it forward” when it comes to the support that she received from Dr. Cromartie and the Academy.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special-mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit