BY MELISSA DELLACATO
Throughout high school and in his early college years, Professor Lee N. Collins played in a punk band that toured along the east coast of the United States. They played at Boston University, Drexel University, the Theatre of Living Arts in Philadelphia, PA., and various other venues.
However, playing in the band was never a serious idea to him. The band members, including himself, went off to college and soon did not have time for playing anymore.
“It was never something I wanted to do as a full job,” he said. “I started playing the guitar when I was about five years old, so it was always just a thing I did on the side.”
Now, Collins is a recently hired assistant professor of mathematics at County College of Morris.
He always knew that this was the career path he wanted to pursue.
“I used to want to be a high school math teacher while I was still in high school or even before then,” said Collins. “Then I took college classes, at which point I wanted to teach at the college level.”
Collins said he was always passionate about math. Collins received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mathematics from Rowan University. He also worked as an undergraduate research assistant there.
“I worked with a professor in the math department,” he said. “We worked on expository math papers, which explain things so a wider audience can fully understand them.”
He did research throughout graduate school and afterwards, published two papers.
His papers extended some geometry theorems and had information on tables by a mathematician from the 1700s.
Collins also researched tropical algebraic geometry, which “redefines addition and multiplication,” creating an “entire new field of mathematics to work on,” he said.
“It really changes everything we know about arithmetic and properties,” he said.
After college, Collins worked as an adjunct instructor of mathematics at five different colleges in Southern New Jersey including, Atlantic Cape Community College, Burlington County College, Camden County College, Gloucester County College, and Rowan University.
He was hired at County College of Morris in the summer of 2013 and he taught his first class at CCM at the start of the fall 2013 semester on Aug. 29. This is his first full-time teaching position so far and he plans to remain here for a long time.
He is currently teaching six classes: College Algebra, Basic Math, Basic Statistics, Probability and Statistics, Calculus and Math Analysis.
He said his teaching, “stems from a passion for math” and wanting to share it with others.
“I like the students here so far,” he said. “It’s a little bit different from the other schools, but for the most part everything’ working out nicely.” Professor Collins’ office is located in SH 215.