Q&A with faculty mentor Konrad Rykaczewski

Konrad Rykaczewski is an associate professor of mechanical engineering who serves as a faculty mentor in the FURI and MORE programs. His research focuses on developing soft thermal materials and systems in addition to studying human thermal exposure in extreme heat. He has been involved in FURI for more than eight years and the MORE program for the past several years. He encourages students interested in research to talk to many faculty members early on in their academic careers to learn about opportunities and get involved in this valuable experience.

Learn more about the student projects for which Rykaczewski is a mentor

Konrad Rykaczewski

What made you want to get involved as a FURI and MORE faculty mentor?

It is a nice program to encourage promising students to get involved in research.

What is your favorite part about seeing your students conduct research?

My favorite part is seeing them slowly grow as researchers and come up with their own ideas.

How have your student researchers had an effect on your research? 

The students involved in FURI and MORE projects often work with me on preliminary ideas that, if successful, are used to motivate larger funding.

What have you gained from being a mentor? How has the experience been rewarding for you?

A couple of the FURI students stayed on to pursue a master’s or doctoral degree in my group, which is great.

Why should other faculty members become FURI and MORE mentors?

It might help them recruit great students to work with for many years.

Just like all other international students, I had a plethora of things on my plate when I came to ASU. At that time finding an exciting project was top on my priority list. At that time, I came across my mentor’s work. [Konrad Rykaczewski] was super approachable and very considerate of students’ well being and health before our research. After a few months into the research he offered me this wonderful opportunity to participate in the MORE program. He guided and taught me the nuances that would transform research into a great project with real social impact. His positivity and supportive words have always been a great boost to me on days when I felt really down. I strongly believe that by the end of this program I will have learned a lot, not just academically but also professionally. I am eagerly looking forward to collaborating more with him in the future.”

Shri Harri Viswanathan Mechanical engineering MORE student

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