Dr. Steve Waters has taught here at PUC for 36 years and he has enjoyed every second of it. His specialization is in pure mathematics, especially abstract and linear algebras. What may be surprising about Dr. Waters is his thespian interests, a hobby that draws him to the stage whenever time allows. One place he is for sure never acting, however, is when he is at the front of the classroom—one of his favorite places to be. Join us as we get to know a little more about Dr. Waters.
Name: Steve Waters
Title: Professor of Mathematics
Faculty since: 1983
Classes taught: Nearly every mathematics course, plus a variety of honors courses.
Education: B.S., Pacific Union College in 1979; M.S., Idaho State University in 1980; D.A., Idaho State University in 1983
What made you decide to be a teacher?
My freshman year at PUC, I conducted informal tutoring sessions for a bunch of guys on 4th floor Newton. Near the end of the year, several of them suggested to me that I should consider being a teacher since I had been able to clarify things to them so well. The more I thought about it, the more it became clear that was exactly what I wanted to do with my life. It has since become a big part of my identity—being a teacher is not just something I do, it’s who I am.
What are some of your hobbies?
Reading (just about anything), music (listening and playing), hiking, spending time with my cats.
What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?
Hmmm … I was a gymnast in high school? I had an uncle who walked on the moon? (I have been told that) I am the only person to have played a baritone sax in Grace Cathedral? I have a distant relative who headed the group Pink Floyd?
What’s your favorite thing about PUC?
I love the collegiality of my department (and the broader college community). That’s my favorite, but it’s closely followed by my enjoyment of being able to teach a variety of courses, both in and out of mathematics, and being able to participate in musical ensembles. It also helps to be located in God’s vacation home here on Earth.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
Whichever classroom I happen to be in while people are learning. Working with others as real understanding takes place is one of the best feelings there is. This would also include making music in the band room and concert halls. I also very much enjoy the hiking trails in the Back 40.
What’s your favorite book, movie, or song?
This is impossible to answer since I love so many books and songs (and a few movies). Books by Dickens, Dostoevsky, Adams, Pratchett, Bryson, or Stephenson would rate highly, as would songs by Beethoven, McCartney, Joel, or Scott.
What advice would you give to an incoming freshman?
Expose yourself to as many areas of knowledge as you can (hooray for general education!), get to know the people who love those areas, and then be true to yourself as you find what genuinely interests you. Take advantage of the wonderful area in which PUC is located and become an active part of its vibrant community.
Professional activities: Ten professional speaking invitations, two invited visiting professorships, ten published research papers, heavy involvement in PUC’s governance system.
I took a course from Dr. Waters in 1983 or 1984 and it was the first time I really understood math. I had earned good grades in math to that point but really understanding what was going on changed my world. I have taken the knowledge that math should make sense and used it in my teaching for the last 30 some years. Thank you Dr. Waters!!