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Alumni Posts


by Alumni Posts on March 16, 2014

in Academics

Imagine a world without the letter “R.” Pretty hard, right? (That last phrase, omitting the letter “R,” would read as such: “Petty had, ight?”) It’s pretty obvious letter “R” is a vital letter in the English alphabet. And, as someone whose first and last names depend on “R” for that amazing connecting sound, I’m currently learning how important another version of “R” is.

This semester, I’m taking an independent study course in R Statistics and Bioconductor software with Dr. Newton of the Fontbonne Math Department. This is my third course with Dr. N, and she is great. In fall 2012 when I took her advanced statistics course, we used a program called MiniTab in order to do our statistical work. MiniTab is an awesome program with a ton of great applications – don’t get me wrong – but one setback is that it is very expensive. R, on the other hand, is a free open-access program. Though extremely finicky at times, R can do a lot of the same things that other statistical programs like MiniTab and Excel can do.

Since the beginning of the semester, I’ve been attempting to understand how R works. It hasn’t been an easy process; at first, it took me over forty-five minutes just to input my simple two-column data table into R. And I’m still having a difficult time with saving my work – one time, we had a power outage, so I literally lost over six hours’ worth of calculations and data interpretation.

All in all, I’m happy to be taking this course, even though it is an elective that I don’t actually need in order to graduate. Working with Dr. Newton is great, and revisiting important statistical concepts proves to be a good experience. So though I’ve been saying “ARGH!” a lot while working with R, I’m happy to be taking this course.


Alumni Posts

My Favorite Professor

by Alumni Posts on March 12, 2010

in Academics

One of my favorite professors at Fontbonne University is Dr. Nancy English, more commonly known as “Doc.” Doc is one of the most skilled teachers I have ever encountered in my school experience. She uses multiple methods of teaching to appeal to different types of learners. She uses technology with the SmartBoard, the textbook, and other powerpoint presentations she has created herself. It is her intention to convey the material concisely and effectively.

Doc has a passion and zeal for teaching that is tremendously powerful. It is her mission to make sure that everyone learns and is successful in her classes. I have never known a teacher more dedicated to his or her profession than Doc. Doc takes time out of her hectic schedule to meet with students having problems in a class and even came in to school on a Sunday last semester to help those who needed it in Statistics. Availability is unmatched in a class taught by Doc.

Finally, Doc is a great supporter of Fontbonne and its mission. She serves on various committees that range from departmental to athletic. It is not a rare occurrence to see Doc at basketball games, cheering on the athletes. Doc has a great sense of humor, most notably revealed to students by the fact that she calls a calculator a “turtle.” She makes me laugh in class, and I always learn from her lessons about math and life in general. All professors should strive to be like Doc English.

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