Professor Profile: Jason Shaw

Jack of All Trades: Professor in Mathematics and Statistics Jason Shaw is one of the many professors at Washburn that are well loved by students. Pictured is Dr. Shaw, in his office in Morgan Hall.

Washburn has another scholar worthy of the title in Assistant Professor Jason Shaw. Shaw teaches math and statistics. Prior to joining Washburn in 2015, Shaw obtained a bachelors from Iowa State, attended Indiana University Bloomington to earn a masters and a doctorate in mathematics with emphasis in probability theory, then moved to Kirksville, Missouri to teach at Truman State University.

Shaw wasn’t always on the path to statistics.

“At Iowa State, I had originally had a goal, a simple goal really, my original plan was to become a professor. I really loved calculus, and I just wanted to teach calculus to college students. That evolved when I was at grad school,” Shaw said. “I was interested in calculus, and then the higher level calculus, real analysis. I got into a program, there, I was going to focus on getting a Ph.D. in real analysis. I met several probability and statistics folks while I was there. I got along with them better.”

Whilst teaching at Truman State, Shaw was immersed into statistics, as well as gaining interest in actuarial science. Shaw reflected about the process of teaching statistics and finding his groove with the subject.

“At first it was a challenge. What I was used to is writing things on the board, calculating things out and working through problems. In statistics you don’t always do that, you need to talk about concepts. It’s not a lot of calculating and board work so much as asking software packages how to do it and then interpretation,” Shaw said. “That was a challenge for a while that led to a love actually. To this is actually the coolest stuff to actually talk about and engage and discuss the different facets of statistics versus just solving problems on the board.”

When Shaw saw a job opportunity at Washburn, he knew it would be a great opportunity. 

“I was just teaching lower level stuff at Truman and this gave me the opportunity to really teach the things I want to teach and start building relationships with majors,” Shaw said. 

Washburn students have positive opinions about Shaw. Todd Rilinger, senior actuarial science major, has a lot of respect for Shaw. 

“Dr. Shaw is one of the best professors I’ve ever had. He has the upmost respect for students, is extremely knowledgeable and always tries to help and support students,” Rilinger said. 

Michaela Trobough, senior pure mathematics major, echoed those thoughts.

“He is very good at explaining the material in a way for each individual student to understand, which is very helpful for students who aren’t the best at statistics,” Trobough said. “We have a lot of great professors in the math department, and he is definitely one of them.” 

According to students, Shaw is everything a teacher should be. Not only is he a skilled educator, but he has the ability of translating a tough subject to each student on different skill levels. Shaw really is an inspiration in and outside the classroom.