Vito Prosciutto: Teaching community college math on the road to a PhD.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

A bit of tutoring 

One of the local SAT-prep-in-a-minimall places hired me to teach a SAT math class. Except that I only have 1 student enrolled so it's really a six session SAT tutoring series. It's actually rather nice to work with a student one on one and be reminded that not all teenagers are pure evil. We just got started on some basics. My student is generally pretty bright, but doesn't seem to have been taught some subjects very well. It seems that percentages have caused her some difficulty and she didn't know what a prime number was. And then there's test anxiety, which is something that we'll have to work on as well.

Monday, December 13, 2004

It's official 

I'll be teaching at least 2 college classes this spring. This may well lead to a full time position in the fall.

Saturday, December 11, 2004

Math GRE 

Actually seemed a bit easier than my prep work for it. I ended up leaving 8 questions blank so there's no chance of getting an 890 on this, but the distance from where I stand to 890 isn't so great. My estimated performance (95% confidence) is that I lost 10-12 points, which puts me in the neighborhood of 800. Not bad, but nowhere where I want to be. I guess it's time to go back and make sure that I know my Linear Algebra backwards and forwards as well as D.E.'s and Calc. There's one question that had me unable to find a way to get an answer that matched the choices. And I think I just realized where I went wrong. Crud. I think I was correctly finding the volume of the region rotated around the wrong axis.... Yep, that'd do it. I can't believe I missed that one. Oh well, I'll do better next time out the door (thankfully ETS was kind enough not to include my mistakes in the distractors on a few questions).

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Unsolicited Grad School Watch: Colorado School of Mines 

We obtained your name from ETS and believe you could be a good fit for Colorado School of Mines based on your academic background and graduate program goals. Mines is a world-renowned public research university devoted to engineering and applied science with a total enrollment of 3500 students. We offer an innovative curriculum that emphasizes practical, hands-on experiences and an interdisciplinary approach to solving problems of importance to society.

This should be interesting. When I was a callow youth, after I took the SAT I checked the nationwide box for schools to send me information (I wanted to go to school in California, but there was no way of giving a smaller geographic area than nationwide from where I lived). I heard from, iirc around 500 colleges and universities, including the college that I eventually attended (which I'd never heard of previous). Now that I want to go to grad school locally, such a serendipitous discovery is less likely. I believe that I've found every possible PhD program possible.

Speaking of which, I've decided that since it's highly unlikely that I'll get a 900 on the math GRE on Saturday, I'm going to put off the PhD application for a year. This will give me a chance to get some more graduate credits under my belt at CSU, get better recommendations from faculty and also get some research of my own in. My goal is to, by this time next year, have at least one publication-quality paper written if not published so as to have an outstanding chance of getting into my first choice school. I'd probably get into at least one program if I applied now, but I think that it's better to wait a year and have a chance to get into my first choice, than to apply now and settle for #3 or #4.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

I may return 

I had a great interview with the local community college district today. When asked about my schedule, I said it was a bit up in the air as I have an interview tomorrow. I think one of the interviewers said, "well, you'll be teaching at our college," which would be great news. I didn't tell them that tomorrow's interview is for a full-time programming job, but even so, I'd still teach at least one class. It also looks like I'm in for the MS program at the CalState. I'm not sure that I'll manage to get a fall 2005 PhD admission somewhere that I'd like to go, so I may do the MS and work and/or teach with an eye toward the fall 2006 admission. Meanwhile, I've been picking up (very little) money with some music work. I really should get something with more income for the next few weeks...

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