Phil Mahler, MCC Math Professor
I became a Math Professor in a rather roundabout way.
After majoring in Modern Languages at Assumption College in Worcester, I served in the Navy as an electronics technician in Key West, Florida from 1968-72, (Tough assignment, but someone had to do it!) I knew I wanted to travel some, so I majored in foreign affairs in college, then switched to modern languages, thinking about the foreign service. I studied Russian and German.
When I graduated, the draft was in full force, and I was going to be called up to the Army. However, I really wanted to fly. I would have been accepted for Air Force flight training, but my vision was not good enough. So, I enlisted in the Navy. Since I had a bachelor's degree they guaranteed me a school. An associate degree would have done it also.
After boot camp, I studied electronics in Memphis, TN and then studied the repair and maintenance of flight and radar simulators. I was at school for four months, after which I was assigned to Key West, where I repaired radar simulators for the Navy flight school. I also took evening classes at Florida Keys Community College, where I learned what a great place a community college is. When I was due to be separated from the Navy in 1972 I considered becoming an engineer since I enjoyed working in the electronics field. However, my wife got me a teaching job at the local private high school, teaching math, physics, drafting (one of my community college experiences). I loved the math and decided I would like to teach mathematics.
The GI Bill enabled me and my wife to attend the University of Florida, where I got an MAT in Mathematics. I taught math for four years at Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn, Michigan after working in electronics production and part-time teaching while job hunting. I’ve loved being a teacher ever since.
Funny how life moves on, not quite always as initially planned. I went from languages to electronics to becoming a math professor, but somehow it all made sense, even though I initially thought I wanted a foreign service career. I joined the Middlesex faculty in 1982.