Dr. Caleb McWhorter is fascinated by elliptic curves, a topic in Arithmetic Geometry, which is a subfield of Number Theory and the backbone of modern-day encryption.
“Every day when your bank or credit information is transmitted securely, you can thank elliptic curves,” he says.
The mathematician earned his master’s and doctoral degrees at Syracuse University and a double bachelor’s in physics and mathematics at Ithaca College. Prior to joining St. Thomas Aquinas College in 2021, he taught and conducted research at both of his alma maters. He also did research at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, worked and tutored at Cornell University, and served as an adjunct instructor at SUNY Adirondack.
Dr. McWhorter is a member of the Mathematical Association of America and the American Mathematical Society where he was editor-in-chief of its graduate school blog.
Before he decided to pursue a career in education, Dr. McWhorter was on track to become a professional violinist. He practiced eight hours a day and played in a number of chamber groups and orchestras. He even began college as a violin performance major. However, the rewards of teaching drew Dr. McWhorter from the stage to the classroom, and he is already seeing the results of his ultimate career choice. One of his former calculus students is a successful engineer and another just landed a dream job at NASA. Another is working toward a doctorate. Working with students on their paths to their futures is inspiring, Dr. McWhorter says, and “there is nothing as rewarding as helping students set out on their roads to success.”
The close interaction between faculty and students makes STAC stand out from other schools, he adds. “At STAC, students have the opportunity to really engage with faculty from the moment they enter their first class to the time that they graduate, and beyond!”
Dr. McWhorter appreciates cross-disciplinary interactions with other faculty which occur on a daily basis. Both students and faculty benefit from “the broad, liberal arts education that STAC provides,” he says. STAC students, likewise, are multifaceted and bring many interests and talents to the classroom.
Being technologically literate is a fundamental component to being successful in most every career, but also in being an actively engaged citizen, Dr. McWhorter believes. To that end, he makes a point of bringing technology into lessons and homework assignments whenever possible, whether it’s in the form of a TV show, a movie, or YouTube clips.
Dr. McWhorter grew up near Lake George in upstate New York and now lives in Suffern. Ithaca and Tucson, Arizona, are two of his favorite places to visit. His hobbies and interests include coding and watching movies—he has seen about 2,000 movies and TV shows and has several memorized from start to finish. He also enjoys music, model-making, and collecting old textbooks. The oldest in his collection is from 1884.