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RIA # 66: Dr. John Nychka on Creating a Professional Philosophy


On this episode, Katie is joined by Dr. John Nychka, Associate Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering, Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning, Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research, Vargo Teaching Chair, and Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Dentistry at the University of Alberta. John graduated from the University of Alberta in 1997 with a Bachelors of Science in Metallurgical Engineering, then went on to earn his Masters in Engineering from McMaster University in 1999 and his PhD from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2004. He stayed on at Santa Barbara as a post doc, and then moved to become an assistant professor in Chemical and Materials Engineering at the University of Kentucky from 2005 to 2007. In 2007 he returned home to Edmonton to join the University of Alberta. He teaches introductory materials engineering, communication, and capstone design courses, and his research is primarily about structural materials.

Transcript (.docx)

Show Notes

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Segment 1: Research on Materials [00:00-11:53]

In this first segment, John shares about the different components of his research on materials.

Segment 2: Materials at the Interface [11:54-21:16]

In segment two, John describes the professional philosophy he uses to guide his research, teaching, and service.

In this segment, the following resources are mentioned:

Segment 3: Failure in the Research Enterprise [21:17-34:40]

In segment three, John shares about the importance of embracing failure as a researcher.

In this segment, the following resources are mentioned:

Bonus Clip #1 [00:00-7:16]: John’s CV of Failures

In this bonus clip, the following resources are mentioned:

  • Looser, D. (2015, October 18). Me and my shadow CVThe Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from

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The views expressed by guests on the Research in Action podcast do not necessarily represent the views of Ecampus or Oregon State University.