If you had a choice of either attending a concert or solving a math equation, which would you choose? Your answer is most likely: “You’re kidding, right?”
Vaughn College is dedicated to making math a positive experience by teaching methods that eliminate the stigma and ensure students attain the confidence they need to secure success in their field.
Let’s face it. Math gets a bad rap. Dr. Andrew Grossfield, who is currently a professor of mathematics and electronics at Vaughn College, is working hard to change that notion by making math a subject that students look forward to instead of dreading. So, how does he do it? It’s all about changing the students’ attitudes and opening their minds to a different approach.
Grossfield holds a doctorate in continuum mechanics, has been a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) for many years, is the past chair of the ASEE Mid-Atlantic Section, and has been granted the ASEE 2010 Math Division Distinguished Educator Award.
In honor of Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, Grossfield weighs in on the importance of easing the fears students have of math, and the value this subject of study holds in earning an engineering degree.
The fear is real
Just hearing the word “math” can have some people shudder in fear, when in fact, math is all around us―in buildings, navigation, technology, and the arts. The use of math is present in almost every profession. So, why do we find the subject so terrifying? The answer may lie in how math has been taught to us and our lack of confidence to grasp it. Instead of teaching with the goal of deriving the logical proof, Grossfield believes that promoting the concept of how to understand math will help students gain satisfaction in continuing their engineering and analytical studies.
Making the grade
How does one make learning higher level math, like calculus, easier? In layman’s terms, Grossfield proposes that precalculus and calculus should be introduced as the study of well-behaved curves where the student has the framework to visualize and grasp the concepts, and are asked questions such as, “Where is the point?” and “Where is the cure heading?”
“A student who can see what he is studying is more likely to stick with it,” Grossfield stated.
Another approach Grossfield follows is reordering how math is taught. Instead of teaching the hardest part first, he delays the difficult conventional formal derivations in order to place the students in a more comfortable position where they can understand the mathematical manipulations and follow the analysis.
Fun in numbers
Grossfield believes everyone can find joy in math as they do in sports, music, theatre, art or scientific discovery. Those who are familiar with mathematics see fascinating puzzles, games, patterns and amazing facts―not just random numbers. Next time you’re out and about, take a minute to observe the many ways math is a part of your everyday life. You’ll be surprised!
Learn more about Vaughn’s Engineering and Technology programs.
Have you ever dreamed of turning your hobby of flying unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as drones, into a full-blown career? Well, we at Vaughn College are here to say that dream is possible. The UAV industry is soaring to new heights as enthusiasts are turning their aviation hobby into one of today’s most unique and sought-after careers.
Wondering what kind of UAV careers are out there? We’re here to help you figure that out. Vaughn College is one of the select colleges in the country that offers classes in UAV technology, usage, and drone law―all of which will help fully prepare you in every aspect of the field. We also have communities for like-minded UAV hobbyists, such as the UAV club, where students and faculty put their heads together to build, program and compete in top contests around the nation.
Below, we have listed various industries that are seeking UAV pilots to give them a bird’s-eye view to enhance their specific niche or field.
The booming real estate industry is capitalizing on the talents of UAV pilots to provide aerial stills, videos and 3D maps of properties for sale. This technology is taking virtual tours up a notch with their capability to showcase aerial and ground footage.
Have you ever watched a movie or television show and wondered how they shoot those amazing aerial shots? These sequences can be filmed quickly and efficiently using a UAV.
Last year, over 900 public safety agencies used drones. That’s more than double the number that was only two years earlier. Our country’s fire and police departments are using them to create specific maps of local schools and buildings, determine exit points in the case of a fire or police emergency, and to locate victims after a natural disaster.
In the past, insurance inspectors or adjusters would physically evaluate the damage done to a home by severe weather. Today, drone insurance inspections are being done by drone pilots who can fly a set pattern over a damaged roof or other area and retrieve the necessary images to evaluate the claim.
Drones capture the drama of breaking news stories that range from flooded disaster areas to raging wild fires, using documentary-type footage, as well as stills for an artistically written piece.
Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) maps help farmers assess the condition and location of their crops, eliminating the need for farmers to walk their fields. New software can process the raw data collected by drone pilots, which in turn can help increase crop yields.
UAV pilots can assist cities in reducing the time and money it takes for inspections of critical infrastructure in transportation, while increasing the accuracy of the collected data. Thirty-five states are already using UAVs for their regular transportation activities.
Inspections are a big part of the energy industry, so it comes as no surprise that UAVs are providing faster, less expensive ways to inspect power lines and solar panels, among other tasks.
UAV pilots are playing a key role in this industry and they’ve changed the landscape of necessary operations, such as tower surveys and inspections, making the process safer and more cost-effective for telecommunications giants like AT&T and Verizon, as examples. In fact, Verizon was so impressed with this potential, they purchased the drone company Skyward in 2017.
From elementary schools to colleges and universities, educators are weaving this powerful technology into their classroom activities, sparking interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), geography, and collaborative work.
Have questions about a UAV career? Our drone law professor, Loretta Alkalay, brings years of experience as an aviation attorney and former regional counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA.)
Vaughn’s UAV Club has been instrumental in getting the word out in the past by hosting the highly anticipated festivities surrounding International Drone Day (IDD). This year, IDD will be celebrated on Saturday, May 4, marking this aviation phenomenon’s fifth anniversary. Stay tuned for this year’s event!