This edition of Who Makes Millersville Special features Dr. Kevin Robinson, assistant professor of mathematics. He has been at Millersville since August 2007.
Q. Why did you come to Millersville?
A. For a number of reasons: having grown up in central Pa., it was like returning home; Millersville’s commitment to excellence in teaching and undergraduate education; and the position and department were a great match to my professional desires.
Q. Tell us why you decided on a career in mathematics and teaching?
A. After studying mathematics as an undergraduate, I studied statistics in graduate school. I began teaching as a graduate assistant and my passion for statistical education was ignited.
Q. Were you always interested in numbers and statistics?
A. I wasn’t exposed to statistics until my second semester in college. However, I always excelled in mathematics and enjoyed logic and number puzzles. I was even in the Mickey Mouse Math Club in elementary school!
Q. Your students say that you make statistics come alive for them. How do you accomplish that?
A. I try to make the classroom an active environment by having an engaging, back and forth teaching style. We also investigate real data, including a class survey, which increases interest for the students. I strive to present statistics as an exciting endeavor that is so much more than just laborious, tedious, rote arithmetic.
Q. What has been your best experience(s) over your years here?
A. I enjoy hearing from graduates who have shown appreciation for what they learned here, while providing updates on their success in graduate school or their chosen career. I also take joy in helping colleagues from other departments with their research or making presentations in their classrooms regarding statistics.
Q. What classes do you teach?
A. Stats, Stats and more Stats …
typically three introductory level statistics courses and an upper level statistics course in a semester.
Q. Since mathematics and statistics are difficult subjects for many, do you think students/other people are intimidated by you?
A. Unfortunately, many people are intimidated by math and statistics. I try not to take it personally. I hope students and others find me to be friendly and approachable.
Q. What would you say to someone who says “I can’t do statistics”?
A. It can be a self-fulfilling prophecy. If they go into it with that attitude, they may end up defeated by it. I believe statistics is like a symphony of reading, arithmetic and writing. Like any symphony, it takes a lot of work and practice. A learning curve is to be expected. However, statistics, like a symphony, is awesome!
Q. What do you do in your free time? Any hobbies? Sports?
A. I’m an avid Pittsburgh sports fan – Steelers, Pirates and Penguins. I also enjoy watching 90s sitcoms (Home Improvement, Full House, etc.) with my wife and two sons (10 and 6 years old).
Q. Do you have any pets?
A. Tropical fish aquariums
Q. What was the last book you read?
A. “What is a p-value anyway? 34 Stories to Help You Actually Understand Statistics,” by Andrew J. Vickers, which I highly recommend as an easy read regarding the big picture ideas of statistics.
Q. What is your favorite food?
A. Pennsylvania Dutch dishes like roast beef, mashed potatoes, corn, noodles and pickled eggs – so I am in the right place!
Q. What’s your favorite place to vacation?
A. I’m still searching, but I enjoy spending a day at Knoebels Amusement Resort and going to Rehoboth Beach with my extended family.