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Austin Graybeal TCUAustin Graybeal’s, Ph.D., ’21 journey in the realm of health sciences has been nothing short of inspiring. From a passionate student in TCU’s Department of Kinesiology to a dynamic educator and researcher at the University of Southern Mississippi, his path reflects a profound dedication to both scientific inquiry and student development.

Filled with the enthusiasm and satisfaction of a well-traveled academic path, the tenure-track assistant professor not only teaches in both the kinesiology and nutrition and food sciences programs, but also leads a rigorous research agenda focused on the early detection of cardiometabolic diseases in young adults.

Mentorship at the Core

Graybeal's commitment to his students stands out as the most rewarding aspect of his career. At the University of Southern Mississippi, where over 70% of students are the first in their families to attend college, he sees his role as not just an educator but a pivotal mentor.

These students are so talented, they just need a mentor to show them the ropes,” he explains.

His pride is evident as he discusses the success of his students, from securing fully funded doctoral degrees to winning prestigious awards.

A Strong Foundation

Reflecting on his educational foundation, Graybeal credits Harris College for its exceptional preparation.

“The faculty and facilities at Harris are unreal. You are truthfully not going to beat the top-down leadership that you have at Harris,” he states.

Austin Graybeal TCU

He explains his experience here was instrumental, allowing him to focus and expand his academic skill set under the guidance of supportive mentors. Practical training during his doctoral studies was invaluable. He recounts the hands-on opportunities that shaped his expertise, particularly in managing high-functioning labs and leading complex research projects.

I was able to learn almost all of the skills necessary to run a highly functional lab,” he notes, emphasizing the importance of real-world application in academic training.

His first academic position was a direct result of the proactive career planning facilitated by Harris College.

“The faculty held many seminars and workshops that really gave me a map of how to find my first job in the academy,” he recalls, grateful for the guidance that helped him navigate the complex academic job market.

Lessons Learned

Looking back at his time at TCU, Graybeal cherishes being part of Harris College’s first doctoral cohort, a pioneering experience that forged lasting bonds among peers and tested his resilience. If he could change one aspect of his journey, he said it would be to network more intensively. “I did not realize how important it was,” he admits, underscoring the value of building professional connections.

Austin Graybeal TCUGraybeal's advice to current students in the Ph.D. in Health Sciences program at TCU is pragmatic and insightful.

Plan to fail epically and regularly, and prepare yourself for the long haul,” encouraging students to embrace challenges as learning opportunities.

For those entering the job market, he emphasizes the importance of showcasing potential over past accolades and focusing on negotiating terms that enhance long-term career development, particularly time management.

Graybeal is currently maintaining a rigorous research agenda, where he studies the early detection of cardiometabolic disease development in young adults and nutritional strategies aimed at the prevention of disease progression.

As he continues to shape the futures of his students and advance his research, his story serves as a beacon for aspiring health science professionals — a testament to the power of education, mentorship and perseverance in the pursuit of scientific and personal growth.