Here is the “laid-back” page of the site. I’ll post mostly light-hearted personal content, and miscellaneous content that doesn’t belong elsewhere.
Starting in the Fall of 2020, I asked each of my classes at the end of each semester to submit their Ask-Me-Anything questions for me to answer here on my website. The best questions have been featured below. This is meant to just be a light-hearted and informative end to the semester.
What football team do you cheer for?
Ah, such a delicate question! I’m not a massive watcher of the NFL (sorry Chiefs fans), but sometimes I do watch the major networks (CBS, NBC, etc.) if a game is on. My main love for football is college football. Coming from Alabama, I grew up as an Alabama Crimson Tide fan since I was a small kid in the 90s. However, when I went to graduate school at Auburn University, I learned to cheer for them as well. So here’s what I tell people – I cheer for Alabama and Auburn, but during the Iron Bowl, I have to cheer for Alabama (or my family would disown me!).
Why did you come to Sterling College? How did you end up in middle Kansas?
It was definitely a big move for me, coming from Alabama where I had spent most of my life out to the Great Plains and Kansas. But the more I met the people here in my interviews and the more I got to know the college, I knew it was a great fit for me. I love the small feel and atmosphere, and I love being able to share my faith with students and colleagues freely. I don’t know what the future holds, but I’m very happy with my decision thus far to come to Sterling and have no regrets.
Why do I have to take math when I will never use it in my job?
I’d be curious to know more about what job you want, but in general, it is true that you aren’t going to be asked to solve the quadratic formula or talk about Egyptian math symbols in whatever job you decide. Ultimately, mathematics isn’t meant to be the science of step-by-step procedures but the applications of critical thinking and learning how to reason and persevere in problem-solving. See, there’s a difference between complicated and complex. Flying to the moon is complicated, but it’s really a step-by-step process that many people could eventually learn with enough training. Raising kids is complex; there’s no how-to guide that fully encompasses raising kids, and you can’t just follow a step-by-step training to learn it either. It’s an all-encompassing, deep process that requires different aspects of your whole being to work together in completing the task. Too many people think of math as complicated – and some parts of it are. But the best parts of math are complex – the intricate critical thinking, analysis, ingenuity, creativity, and inspiration that drives real-life resolutions to issues. This is the type of thinking I want you to learn in college-level mathematics, not just rote problem-solving. At its heart, the best math is complex.
Do you own any pets?
Ah, I love pets, especially dogs. I do (sort of) have a dog that I love dearly, named Cade. He is a half bichon frise and half shih tzu. I got him at 8 weeks old in 2018, and he has brought much joy to me. Currently, though, he is staying with my brother, Patrick, in Alabama, as he gets really carsick and I didn’t think it’d be wise for him to make the trip to Kansas. I’ll be traveling home for the holidays soon, so I can’t wait to see my buddy again!
What kind of games do you like to play?
I love all sorts of games, from board games to video games. Lately, in the past few years, I’ve gotten heavily involved with Minecraft, Final Fantasy XIV online, the Witcher 3, Civilization VI, and a lot of random Steam games on my PC. I also own all of the Jackbox Party games and enjoy playing them over Zoom with friends. If it’s a well-designed game, I am eager to play it!
You’ve said you used to teach high school. How did you wind up here in Sterling College?
This is one of my own personal battles I have had over the past several years. I have always had a passion for teaching, but college vs. high school was a very real dilemma for me early on. I loved some of what both had to offer. Since high school had a lower barrier to entry, I started there and taught for my first 3 years. I grew tired, though, of many of the non-teaching aspects of the high school job, and it felt like a lot of the rigor was being watered down in aims to get students passed and graduated. (This is a whole deep topic I could talk for way too much of your time.) But ultimately, I decided college would be a better fit for me, and I went to Auburn University to get my Statistics degree. I taught for 1 more year in high school after graduating while passively looking for a college teaching job, and God laid everything out for the Sterling College position to work out in His time. It was a big “leap” to come to Kansas from lower Alabama, but I felt it was right and where God could best use me. Sometimes, you just have to make a leap of faith!
One of my favorite math bloggers, although he does focus on secondary mathematics. Still, worth a definite look at. https://blog.mrmeyer.com/
The math lover’s best-kept secret? WolframAlpha. It is so useful for a wide variety of mathematics situations and general life situations – use it! http://wolframalpha.com
Not my favorite YouTube channel, but this guy is a must-watch. He is really clever in solving really interesting math questions. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC6jM0RFkr4eSkzT5Gx0HOAw
One of the wittiest and best math comics out there – check out Xkcd today – https://xkcd.com/archive/
My favorite YouTube math channel is 3Blue1Brown, and he is fantastic. Check him out here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYO_jab_esuFRV4b17AJtAw
The Harkness method, an innovative way to teach classes (especially math) has led Phillips Exeter Academy to create these awesome math problem sets. https://www.exeter.edu/mathproblems
Since YouTube is such a great resource, I’ll keep harping on it here. This channel has math tutorials so well-explained, it’s ridiculous. Also love his hand-written style. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFe6jenM1Bc54qtBsIJGRZQ
While on the topic of “how-to” mathematics, the overall best resource, at least for low-to-mid level mathematics I’ve found continues to be the gold standard years later – Khan Academy. It has tutorials on essentially every topic you’re likely to encounter, at least in the first couple of years of college. khanacademy.org
Not math-related at all, but CGP Grey is my favorite all-around YouTube channel. His content and explanations are golden. Check him out yesterday! https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2C_jShtL725hvbm1arSV9w
One of my favorite statistics books, How Not To Be Wrong. https://www.amazon.com/How-Not-Be-Wrong-Mathematical/dp/0143127535/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=how+not+to+be+wrong&qid=1607365322&sr=8-1
Another of my favorite statistics books, Naked Statistics. https://www.amazon.com/Naked-Statistics-Stripping-Dread-Data/dp/039334777X/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=statistics+books&qid=1607365402&sr=8-1
One of (in my opinion) the best well-written math books of our age, Infinite Powers by Steven Strogatz: https://www.amazon.com/Infinite-Powers-Calculus-Reveals-Universe/dp/0358299284/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=infinite+powers&qid=1607365443&sr=8-1