Q&A: Professor Fry gives tips for student's success

Jason Fry, assistant professor of Physics at Eastern Kentucky University

Jason Fry, an assistant professor in the department of physics, geosciences and astronomy at Eastern Kentucky University outlined tips for students to be successful this year.

Question: “What are the most important things for a student to know to be academically successful?”

Fry: “One of the first barriers that students see is simply talking to your professors. Talk to your professors. We are here to help break down one barrier at a time. Everyone is at a different place when they come into a classroom and everyone learns differently, so talk to your professors, whether in person, at office hours, or over Zoom. There are different styles of learning, and professors are here to help you learn.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. I know that students may be afraid to ask questions because they think they may be wrong about something or think they ought to already know it, but we don’t expect you to already know the topics in this course, because then why would you be taking this course to begin with? Don’t be shy to answer a question or ask one. I like to think that a wrong answer is an opportunity to learn. We are in this together, and there is room for everyone to grow in the learning process, professors included, absolutely.”

Question: “What do you see cause academic struggles most often for students?”

Fry: “I think it comes down to these preconceived and social barriers that we are trying to break down all the time. Everyone comes in with different levels of social barriers, and I think it is important for students to know that we know about them and that we are here to help you overcome those barriers so that you can learn the best way that you can. Every student is a different learner, and what we try to do in our courses is provide different ways of learning, different styles of learning, different pedagogical avenues. We are aware of this and we want to help you break down these barriers and realize that we are really just trying to learn together. That is the whole goal of college.”

Question: “You have a Ph.D., so you were a student for a long time.What are some concepts or study habits that helped you the most?”

Fry: “I am even saying this coming from a science background: reading. I think students nowadays overlook the power of reading and reading critically, even in the sciences. Throughout all the disciplines that the university offers, I think a lot of students are still lacking in reading. It turns out, and professors know this too, there are a lot of resources out there that are not your textbook, YouTube, whatever, and while sometimes those resources will give you a little tidbit of what you want to know, they don’t give you the full understanding, of the concepts we are trying to convey in class. So, I think reading in the textbook and reading beyond what you are assigned is important. Take the time to read, and read critically, and read carefully.

Question: “What is one thing you think students might be surprised by at EKU?”

Fry: “They might be surprised by how hands-on the professors are, and how willing we are to make sure that each individual can succeed. What we pride ourselves on at EKU is seeing that each student individually can succeed as compared to others universities. And that comes down to what I talked about at the beginning: make sure that you talk to your professors, because they are here to help you learn individually.”

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