Editorial Intern: Introducing Nathan McCoy

28 Sep

At the beginning of the month, I welcomed aboard editorial intern Nathan McCoy, a senior journalism and public relations major at Baylor University. It’s nice to have him aboard this semester. And we plan to keep him busy so he can work up some great clips and other portfolio pieces that he can have to show future employees in the world of public relations and marketing.

After getting him acquainted with the office, I had him head out on campus to interview Dr. Otto Wilke, a math professor here who has published a textbook through us, Contemporary Math I Using Maple or TI-89.

Here is Nathan’s release (which by the way you can also find on our main site, along with other great stuff about us):

Otto Wilke’s Contemporary Math I Using Maple Published


By Nathan McCoy
September 21, 2007

Dr. Otto Wilke, mathematics professor at Texas State Technical College Waco, recently completed his first textbook, Contemporary Math I Using Maple or TI-89, for his Contemporary Math I classes at TSTC.

Maple is a computer algebra system that was first developed at the University of Waterloo in Canada. The program is used in Contemporary Math I to solve problems in the areas covered in class such as modern algebra, geometry and probability.

“For two or three decades, we’ve been using computer programs to solve any equations,” Wilke said. “Maple is by far the easiest to use and the cheapest to buy.”

Contemporary Math I covers a broad area of math topics that include algebra, geometry, logarithms and basic trigonometry. Wilke said it is more of a survey class that covers many topics briefly, whereas classes at TSTC like College Algebra or Trigonometry cover specific topics in depth.

Before Wilke’s textbook, there were math books that touched on Maple usage, but no math book had been written specifically to explain how to do the problems using Maple software. Wilke said he wrote the textbook so students would be able to use Maple properly in order to work problems associated with the particular course.

“I want students to be familiar with the best and latest tool for doing mathematical calculations-and that’s Maple,” Wilke said.

Wilke began using Maple around 1990 with version two of the program. Maple is currently in its eleventh version, released in early 2007.

The book also includes instruction on how to work problems with a TI-89 calculator accompanied by screen shots from the calculator.

Maple has many practical uses, Wilke said. He said he uses written programs in Maple to randomize the exams he gives to his students so no two tests are alike. He also holds a patent for a program he wrote in Maple that adjusts airplane holding patterns in the event of strong crosswinds.

Wilke received his Ph.D. in engineering at Texas A&M University. He did research for 10 years before going to Baylor University Dental School. After practicing dentistry for 10 years, he came to teach mathematics at TSTC Waco, where he has taught nearly every math class in his 18 years on staff.

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Nathan McCoy is a senior at Baylor University, majoring in journalism and public relations with a minor in marketing. He’s a 2004 graduate of Irmo High School, Columbia, S.C. Between classes, interning here and working at the Baylor Fund Call Center, he enjoys getting involved with all things having to do with music: learning guitar, listening to it whenever possible and going to concerts. He’s also a sports fan, supporting Baylor athletics, rooting for the Dallas Mavericks, complaining about the Texas Rangers, and playing golf, tennis and basketball. After graduation he hopes to work in public relations.

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