I have been teaching at Furman since 2000, and the time has flown by. I graduated from Furman in 1991, and I have loved being able to serve in a place that was so meaningful to me as an undergraduate. This MayX course is an example in itself of the many things that are special about Furman --- the course involves close student/teacher interaction, in depth analysis of real world phenomena, the careful study of big ideas, and the building of community around a spirit of learning.
I grew up in Atlanta, attended Furman, went to Emory University for graduate school, and taught for five years at Appalachian State University before re-joining the Furman family in 2000. During my graduate school and teaching careers, I have always been interested in networks (or graphs) --- in finding and studying connections between all sorts of things. Disney World consists of a complex system of networks, and I am excited to have this as my area of focus for three weeks this May.
I have a lot of favorite Disney memories. I made my first trip with my parents and sister, and I was old enough then to take in all of the wonder. My honeymoon was at Disney --- my wife and I stayed in the Dolphin hotel and spent a week enjoying the Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, and (what was then called) MGM Studios. We returned when our daughter was three years old, and a highlight of that trip was her getting chosen from the crowd to play “Chip” in the Story Time with Belle event. We returned a few years later and she was chosen again --- this time to play “Mrs. Potts” (Chip’s mother) in the same event. During another trip a few years ago, my son Will got to battle Darth Vader in a light saber duel during one of the popular Star Wars weekends at Hollywood Studios. Two years ago I experienced Disney World in a whole new way during our first offering of Math and the Mouse. My best memories are centered around the experiences of others, and I look forward to sharing great experiences with our group of Furman students this year.
My favorites at the Magic Kingdom are Space Mountain (a nostalgic pick), Splash Mountain, and the Haunted Mansion. In Animal Kingdom I enjoy the Safari, Expedition Everest, and the great Lion King Show. In Hollywood Studios, I like Star Tours (again, a nostalgic pic), Toy Story Mania, and my favorite ride in all of Disney World: Rockin Roller Coaster. Lastly, in EPCOT, I really like Soarin and Test Track.
We’ve had several character meals with the kids, and those were fun. I’ve also enjoyed eating at the various countries in the World Showcase --- my favorites are Mexico and Germany. Two other top choices (with great atmosphere as well as food) are the Beast’s Castle in the Magic Kingdom and Boma at the Animal Kingdom Lodge.