Student & ECR Spotlight – Meet Tyler Prochnow who is researching how connections impact health

Please tell us about your career pathway to date (positions and institutes).

I started as an adjunct professor and campus recreation director at a college in Wisconsin, USA. I loved working with students in the classroom and in the recreation facility to improve the health curriculum and activity programming. I have always been passionate about health and physical activity and wanted to try to be involved in more research.

How would you briefly describe your current research/job to someone who is not familiar with your field of study/work? What is your main research interest?

Right now, I am a research assistant at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, USA. I work on several projects mainly related to child physical activity and specifically through an equity lens. My main research interest involves social network analysis. This involves understanding how social connections might impact health beliefs and health behaviors.

What are the main barriers you encounter/experience when conducting research, or what information/skills do you lack to conduct high quality research?

I think the biggest barrier is time. There are all these fascinating ideas and research questions to follow but there is only so much time. You want to make sure when you take on a project you can give it the time it deserves to produce quality work, not just for research purposes but for the community partners you work with and the broader picture of how this work may impact others.

What could help you as a student/ECR to further develop/grow in your current position?

This may be quite cheesy to say given my research interest but connections. Meeting other researchers and learning from them at conferences and through projects so far has been very eye opening. I would really love to do that more. So, if anyone wants to learn more about social network analysis or just interested in some of my other research please reach out; I would love to talk with you!

What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition and/or physical activity field? 

I think we will have some remarkable advances in monitor technology starting with the monitors we have now which also include Ecological Momentary Sampling. I have not been able to participate in this type of research, but I think it is fascinating.

You can get in touch with Tyler Prochnow via email [email protected], follow him on Twitter @Tyler_prochnow or visit