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Dr. Nick Frye-Cox Accepts Faculty Position

30 June 2022
Written By
Military REACH Project Manager
Interview conducted by Hannah Stearns, Undergraduate Research Assistant

Dr. Nick Frye-Cox has worked with Military REACH as a Post-Doctoral Fellow since August 2019. During his time with Military REACH, Dr. Frye-Cox has been an incredible asset. His primary roles have been reviewing Translating Research Into Practice (TRIP) Reports and leading efforts on research reports requested by the Department of Defense. He has also mentored countless students and staff members, making them more knowledgeable about research and how to convey it accurately and concisely.

The goal of a Post-Doctoral Fellow in a university setting is to become equipped with the tools and skills that will allow them to launch into an academic career. That’s exactly what Dr. Frye-Cox has done! He recently accepted a faculty position in the Department of Human Sciences and Design at Baylor University in Waco, Texas where he will serve as a professor with many roles to fulfill (e.g., teaching, conducting research).

Our team connected with Dr. Frye-Cox to reflect on his time with the project and to learn more about his new career. Continue reading to learn more about his role on our project and what his experience has been.

1. What skills did you bring to the table to fulfill your role with Military REACH, and what skills did you hone during your experience?

Before starting my fellowship, I was good at doing basic research that was not applied to people. Research is usually only read by other researchers – and that’s important, but I wanted to use the gifts God has blessed me with to conduct research so it can be applied and help others.

REACH has helped me hone my ability to translate research in a way that everyone can understand the key findings and implications. I knew how to do the statistics and measurements, but there is also a mentoring component to research; can I teach graduate and even undergraduate students how to conduct research in a way that they will understand it? It takes a different skill set to teach students at varying levels of academia, and, during my time working with REACH, I have had many opportunities to practice my teaching skills. Reviewing TRIP reports lent me a platform to learn how to give feedback in an encouraging way.

2. What does it mean to be a Post-Doctoral Fellow for Military REACH? What are your different tasks?

Since I first got here, I always told Dr. Lucier-Greer, REACH Project Director, and Dr. O’Neal, REACH Co-Investigator, that my job is to make their lives easier. I have gotten to work on a lot of different projects during my time here: I have reviewed TRIP reports, led the efforts on research reports (e.g., delegating tasks, ensuring deadlines were met), worked with graduate and undergraduate students in a mentorship capacity, and so much more.

3. You’ve led several research reports and have reviewed hundreds of TRIP reports. What topics have interested you the most and why?

Topics about couples, mental health, and emotion regulation always stand out to me. It is interesting to look at how a person chooses to identify, process, and express their emotions and how it affects their relationships. I have always been interested in studying relationships and the different factors that affect their quality. It is one of my main focuses in research.

4. Regarding military family science, what topics do you think need more research to improve/strengthen the knowledge base?

Often when I examine studies on the military, researchers do not have a detailed explanation as to why they are conducting their study when a similar research topic has been conducted among civilians. For example, “Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are more common in veterans, and that is why we are going to do more research on this population.” That is not a very detailed reason why ACEs are more common in veterans. We also need to look at military families through more of a strength-based lens. Military families do face stressors that are unique to them, but they also have many protective and resilience factors that can help them navigate these obstacles. Also, I think that we should research military families to get a better picture of how military life affects the family as a unit, and how each stressor impacts every member differently.

5. What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a Post-Doctoral Fellow in family science?

1) Find a topic you are interested in and look for programs that are related to that topic. If you are interested in military family research, it is important to remember that military families are families first, but they also experience unique stressors. If you have an interest in those unique stressors, then studying military families might be a good idea.

2) You must be comfortable with the people you will be working with, so go where you feel supported and where your team won’t let you fail. I found that support at Auburn. I am also getting that at Baylor. Being a faculty member can be a lot of work, but I know that I have the support from the faculty at Baylor, and they will help me in any way that they can. It is a great feeling knowing that the people surrounding you have your back.

3) Collaboration is key in research. The best ideas come from collaboration and a good working environment. Dr. Lucier-Greer has taught me the importance of forming good relationships. The work being done is the most important thing, but if people want to work with you, things will come a lot easier. In the REACH lab, we are all so comfortable with each other that it makes doing projects together so much better.

6. You accepted a faculty member at Baylor University. Can you share what this role will entail, and what are you most excited about?

I am going to be an Assistant Professor focusing heavily on research, and I will be teaching a few classes as well. I am excited to move to a bigger city and start something new. I will get to take all the knowledge that Dr. Lucier-Greer and Dr. O’Neal have given me and use it to start my own projects and pay their hard work forward. I want to continue working on research projects to support military families, but it will just be in a different place.
Dr. Frye-Cox has been a dedicated member of the Military REACH team, and we have always known he was going to excel and do incredible things – both while serving REACH and after his time with us. We are over-the-moon excited for him and his family, but we must say that Baylor’s gain is certainly our loss!
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