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Cougar Query: ‘I’m Grateful that the Lord Saw More Potential in Me than I Did’

Name: Kevin John

I’ve been a BYU employee since… 2011, if you count my time as an adjunct instructor and don’t count my time as a student research assistant, haha!

My job at BYU is… being a professor and working as the director of the BioComms Lab in the School of Communications.


Courtesy of Alyssa Dahneke

I’m currently working on… lots of research on skin cancer, body image issues and substance use. It’s actually kind of funny because, since I work in each of these areas, my computer is full of images of alcohol advertisements, moles and people in swimsuits and such—probably the last thing you’d think of with BYU research! But the goal of all of these studies is to help people make informed decisions about their health and physical and mental well-being. With many of these studies I like to use advanced technologies like eye-tracking, facial recognition, virtual reality and other means to see what people see and how they feel about it.

I’m currently playing through… Final Fantasy VII Remake, and I recently finished Final Fantasy XV for the third time. I LOVE the mixture of deep stories, complicated characters and emotional music that are typical of these games. Outside of Final Fantasy, I love the Mass Effect universe, an indie game called Gris, all of the Halo games and old-school Super Nintendo games like Chrono Trigger, Secret of Mana, Super Metroid, Mega Man X and so many others.

My favorite part about teaching is… the variety of experiences each student brings into the classroom. Every semester is a unique environment and challenge, and I love learning about what each student in my class is interested in and where they want to go after BYU. A major part of learning is the creation of shared meaning, and I learn just as much from my students as they learn from me each semester. For me, interactions with students are the best part of the job!

When I tell people I work for BYU, they often say… that I don’t look like a BYU professor. Well, what is a BYU professor supposed to look like? Can you have spikey hair and still love the Lord? Of course! We don’t all need to look like we just stepped out of the MTC. The Lord looks on the inside and so should we. It is our spirit and the light of Christ that will show people that we are disciples of Him. Sure, how we present ourselves says a lot about what’s on the inside, but it doesn’t say everything, and there are many ways for us to express ourselves in a manner that is consistent with the doctrine of the restored gospel. We don’t all have to have parted hair, right? 🙂

Read the full article by Kaylee Esplin at